Why Buying Cheap Hearing Aids is a Bad Idea

It’s a fact that “cheap hearing aids” is one of the most popular phrases searched on the web when it comes to hearing aids. But “cheap” is a relative term. What’s cheap to one person may seem expensive to the next. So here are some things to consider if you’re in the market for hearing aids.

It’s not realistic to expect to pay $500 for a pair of quality hearing aids. But it’s also not necessary to pay $10,000 for a pair of hearing aids.

Instead, you can get great technology and service if you focus on value when shopping for hearing aids.  That’s a much better way to determine if you are getting what’s most appropriate. As you’ll learn here, a lot more goes into making sure you get the hearing aids you need from a quality audiology practice than just price. But for the sake of argument, let’s start with price.

The Price is Right!

If you were a guest on the popular game show The Price is Right and had to guess the price of a pair of hearing aids to win your way up on that stage, what would you guess? What would you want to know?

Well first, you’d need to know the manufacturer, model and style of hearing aids, plus whether the hearing aids have any special features, like Bluetooth, advanced digital signal processing, artificial intelligence, or rechargeable batteries?

Why does that matter? All those extra features add up—some are very important to patients, while others may like a straightforward model.

But let’s say the hearing aids you’re considering are entry-level technology. These hearing aids from a professional practice such as Associated Audiologists typically start at $675 per ear private pay price. These may also have shorter warranty coverage and limited follow-up service to help keep the cost low. 

But if your “Price is Right” hearing aids are more middle-of-the-road technology, you’re probably looking at $1,500 to $2,200 for each ear private pay price. These hearing aids may have better digital processors, more advanced features and service from the audiologist may be included for a specified period of time. For many people, these extra features and service make more advanced hearing aids a better value and usually result in higher overall patient satisfaction

And finally, if you’re looking for top-of-the-line technology, at a practice such as Associated Audiologists, these will likely cost $2,300-$2,800 per ear private pay price. These hearing aids may include Bluetooth connectivity, and/or rechargeability, as well as follow-up appointments with your audiologist for several months, or even years.

That Price Isn’t Right …

So what should you do if your budget is limited, but you want good hearing aid technology?

  • Don’t cut corners. Find a doctoral-level audiologist who is experienced in fitting a wide range of technology and who follows best practices from organizations such as the Academy of Doctors of Audiology or the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. This ensures the person you are working with is a professional who adheres to a code of ethics.
  • Be honest. Tell your audiologist about your budget concerns. Many practices offer affordable entry-level technology, refurbished options and payment options that can help put better technology within reach.
  • If you have insurance that offers a hearing aid benefit, be sure to work with a practice that accepts your coverage. Some won’t accept insurance. Associated Audiologists works with most major insurers, and provides written estimates so you have a good idea what you are responsible for paying.  Let us help you navigate your options before you sign up for anything that might lock you into a specific plan or program.
  • Get the proper fit. There are lots of audiologists and hearing aid dispensers who can fit hearing aids, but be sure to ask if your audiologist will use real-ear measurement/verification to confirm how well your hearing aids are functioning when they are actually in your ears. This is a best practice/gold standard that only 20 to 30% of all audiologists follow, yet can make the difference between so-so hearing, and hearing aids that function well, maximizing the features available so that you can hear your best, and making the most of your investment.
  • Ask about maintenance. Your audiologist should show you have to clean and care for your hearing aids. This will help them function better and last longer.
  • Service with a smile. Even if your budget is tight, ask about the cost of follow-up appointments. Initially, many people need a few adjustments to the programming of their hearing aids, and being aware of the cost can help with budgeting. If you purchased more advanced hearing aids, the service may be included with the cost of the devices. Be sure to take advantage of it.

Ultimately, focusing only on price, may leave you with low-quality, poor-fitting hearing aids that you don’t wear, and that doesn’t save any money at all. Be certain to work with a trusted audiology professional who can make sure you get the right technology, fit the right way, all within your budget.

Download our free e-book on the True Cost of Hearing Aids to learn more.

Schedule an appointment with a doctoral-level audiologist.