When it comes to hearing aids, the old adage applies: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” At Associated Audiologists, we are aware that many advertisers use misleading strategies marketed as deals. Here are some common claims to watch out for:
Common Hearing Aid Claims to Avoid
Don’t fall for these marketing ploys that sound like they are saving you money, but are not the best choice:
These ads offer patients the opportunity to take part in a field trial for new technology. This term is misleading because it sounds like you’re getting in on technology that’s being tested, when in reality, these trials happen long before the technology is offered to the public, and are regulated tightly by the Food and Drug Administration. This is just a way to get you to call and schedule an appointment and is considered an unscrupulous business practice by professional audiologists.
Businesses that participate in legitimate research typically ask for or contact qualified individuals who meet strict study eligibility requirements rather than soliciting participants via a general public advertisement. In addition, a practice or vendor study usually has clearly stated study objectives and guidelines.
Little to No Cost
It’s very rare that insurance covers the entire cost of hearing aids. Generally, the “low-cost” hearing aids advertised are entry-level devices that may indeed be less expensive, but often don’t meet the individual and unique needs of users. When you schedule an appointment with someone who uses this tactic, don’t be surprised if they try to sell you more expensive technology.
Free Hearing Tests
These tests are not comprehensive evaluations and usually just include hearing screenings. They typically are not a part of a medical record, don’t belong to the person being tested, and are usually not transferable. Full hearing evaluations from qualified audiologists determine if you have a hearing impairment and can be shared with your primary care provider. Audiologists then provide the necessary recommendations specifically tailored to your hearing loss.
Do Your Research Before Buying Hearing Aids
Searching for and buying hearing aids can be confusing, making it important for you to research brands and hearing care providers before making a purchase.
Two groups of professionals can dispense hearing aids: audiologists and hearing aid dispensers. Buyers need to remember this when shopping and looking at hearing aid ads. Buying hearing technology from another source doesn’t provide the quality care or support needed.
The Difference Between Hearing Aid Dispensers and Audiologists
Audiologists diagnose and treat hearing loss, and should have doctoral-level credentials. Dispensers pass a state exam to earn their dispensing license.
The scope of practice for an audiologist is much more extensive than for a hearing aid dispenser. Not only can an audiologist assist in choosing hearing aids that match your needs and budget, but they also can diagnose and manage other issues related to hearing, such as tinnitus, sound sensitivity, dizziness and balance disorders.
You also need to ask the clinic you are researching about service and follow-up, including how they verify that the hearing aids you purchase are performing. Plus, ask about insurance, warranty and financing options.
To learn more about the True Cost of Hearing Aids, including a list of 15 questions you should ask before purchasing hearing aids, download our free e-book.