The selection and purchase of a first hearing aid can be an overwhelming task for anyone. When Consumer Reports did a comparative report on hearing aids, they followed consumers for six months as they tried to figure out which one to buy. What they found was less than satisfying, because they found that two-thirds of the aids were either improperly fitted or that they provided either too much or too little volume. Even within this small group of people the price range for these hearing aids was huge and they were not always provided the best information by the retailers.
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). These guidelines are provided on the website of the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), a non-profit corporation that educates the public about hearing loss and what can be done about it. Here are our suggestions:
- See an audiology professional – You can do this either by calling us for an appointment, or by consulting another certified hearing specialist in your area; either way we suggest you read the BHI guidelines before your first appointment. It will help you to ask the right questions and know what the right answers are.
- Determine which type of hearing aid you need – This depends on the type and severity of your hearing loss, and should have been determined by tests performed by specialists during Step 1. Which type of hearing aid is best for you depends on the nature of your hearing loss, combined with your budgetary constraints.
- Research hearing aids of this type – After determining the type of hearing aid you need, use the Internet to look up information about 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.
- Search for and select a vendor you can rely on – The vendor may be the specialist you saw in Step 1, or can be someone recommended by them. The vendor should be able to make molds of your ears and fit the aids properly. Though it is tempting to purchase your hearing aid over the Internet, you would be skipping the critical step of having a custom fitting that would increase the likelihood of your hearing aid‚Äôs comfort and suitability.
- Your hearing aid should fit comfortably and sound great – This should be done before walking out the door after your first fitting, and the vendor you select should support this. 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.
Good luck, and know that our specialists are here to help you in any way that we can.