If you’re shopping for your first hearing aid and finding the process confusing, you are not alone. Consumer Reports published a comparative report on hearing aids after following over a dozen people for six months while purchasing their first hearing aids. Their report was dismaying: two-thirds of the aids purchased ended up being misfitted, or amplified the sounds either too much or too little. Customers wound up paying widely-varying prices for the same units, and did not always receive the kind of information they were looking for from the vendors. To spare you this experience, in this article we’ll try to provide a few tips to help you when shopping for your first hearing aid. However, we can’t cover all the information you need to make this important decision in this article so please have a read through Your Guide to Buying Hearing Aids – a useful in-depth decision making tool provided by The Better Hearing Institute (BHI). The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is a non-profit that publishes information on hearing loss and its treatment, including this guide and many others. Here are our suggestions:
Step 1 – Seek professional help
Make an appointment with us or with another certified hearing specialist in your area, and read the information in the BHI guidelines before you go. The BHI guidelines will walk you through what you can expect at your first appointment and what questions you may need to ask your specialist.
Step 2 – Decide which type of aid is best for you
Your certified hearing specialist will help you determine which hearing aid is best for you. During your examination in Step 1 they will conduct an examination and hearing tests to diagnose the type and severity of any hearing loss. Which type of hearing aid is best for you depends on the nature of your hearing loss, combined with your budgetary constraints.
Step 3 – Do your research
After selecting the type of hearing aid that is best for your situation use the Internet to research different models. Look for price comparisons from different vendors, reports on the frequency of problems and repairs, and most important, reviews from users as to the unit’s comfort and reliability.
Step 4 – Find a reliable vendor
The vendor may be the specialist you saw in Step 1, or can be someone recommended by them. Whoever you select as the vendor, make sure they have the proper training to make molds of your ears and fit hearing aids properly. You can buy hearing aids over the Internet, but because most models must be custom-fitted, we do not recommend this.
Step 5 – Make sure the aids fit and work properly
The vendor should perform tests to make sure of a proper fit and that everything is working correctly during your first fitting. The vendor should also provide free follow-up sessions to fine-tune either the fit or the performance of the hearing aids, and should be willing to offer you a “satisfaction guaranteed” warranty when purchasing them.
We are here to help you as you make the purchase of your first hearing aid and we wish you good luck on this exciting journey to better hearing!