There are now more hearing aid types, manufacturers, and technologies today than ever before. Although this increases the number of choices you have as a consumer, and helps ensure that you will be able to find a hearing aid that exactly meets your needs, it can also make the purchasing process overwhelming.
If you’re confused about buying hearing aids, use these tips to find the right devices for you.
1. Find the Right Audiologist
Your success with hearing aids depends on choosing the right audiologist. The audiologist you work with should belicensed within your state, involved with professional organizations such as the American Academy of Audiology,uphold the most professional code of ethics, and put your hearing needs above all else.
It’s important to note that working with an audiologist, rather than a hearing aid specialist, can be critical to the success of treating your hearing loss. While hearing aid specialists can sell and dispensea product, they have not undergonethe extensive training or higher education required for audiologists. An audiologist, on the other hand, must earn a doctoral-level degree and spend at least four years of training in audiology with the final year requiring a clinical experience directly under the supervision of a licensed audiologist. Audiologists are licensed and trained to ensure that your hearing needs are met.
2. Begin with a Diagnostic Evaluation
Choosing the right hearing aidswill first require the “blueprints”of your hearing requirements. This will ensure that you get individualized recommendations based on your unique needs.
This can be achieved through a diagnostic hearing evaluation. Using a variety of tools, your audiologist will identify your hearing acuity through a full assessment of your hearing ability, will assess your outer, middle, and inner ear, and will determine your speech understanding ability. Based on this information along with a detailed case history, specific recommendations for your hearing needs can be created to set you on the right path when buying a hearing aid.
3. Consider Your Lifestyle Needs
There is a wide variety of hearing aids that fit many different lifestyles. To purchase a hearing aid that meets your needs, select options that are specific to your lifestyle. For example, if you spend a lot of time outdoors, you may want to consider a device with wind reduction technology. If you spend a lot of time on the phone, consider an option with wireless connectivity to improve your listening abilities and functionality while on the phone.
4. Consider Your Budget
Hearing aids can range anywhere from $650 to $3,500 each. Though advanced technology features will improve listening abilities and speech recognition in demanding listening environments, they will also increase the cost of your devices. You should know your budget before you begin searching for the right hearing aid.
5. Steer Clear of Online Shops
You can purchase virtually everything you need online these days, including a hearing aid. However, that doesn’t mean you should. To get optimal hearing performance, your hearing aid must be fitted to meet your exact hearing requirements. Online off-the-shelf products will not be able to provide maximum performance and are not individually fit and programmed. Purchasing online devices may also void the manufacturer’s warranty.
6. Request a Satisfaction Guarantee
Once you’ve narrowed down your hearing aid options, expect an assessment periodas a part of your purchasing decision. You should be able to assess the performance of your device to ensure that it meets your needs. An assessment period helps make sure you are fully satisfied. If not, you should expect to get apartial refund in the event that the hearing aid you choose doesn’t work as hoped during the assessment period. The non-refundable portion can vary from $100-$450 depending upon several variables.
7. Beware of Misleading Marketing Techniques
It may be tempting to purchase a device based on advertisements for special discount plans, but you should be wary of these deals. They are typically based on inflated suggested retail prices. In addition, free product trials should also be avoided as they are often under clinical study and cannot be customized to your unique needs.
The doctoral-level audiologists at Associated Audiologists are equipped to help you purchase the right hearing aids for your needs and the important services necessary for best success. Request a consultation today.