Are you in the market for hearing aids? Do you find the process confusing and overwhelming?
If so, you’re not alone. In fact, in a recent study published by Consumer Reports, two-thirds of the participants found the process of choosing and buying hearing aids to be complicated and stressful.
To help simplify the process, we’ve compiled a list of points to make buying hearing aids easier.
Should you buy online?
Purchasing hearing aids online may be tempting because the prices are often cheaper than those you’ll get from a hearing professional. But in this case, the old adage “you get what you pay for” is true. We caution against purchasing hearing aids online for several reasons, including:
- An audiologist will conduct an interview to learn about your unique listening challenges and will perform tests to determine the type and severity of your hearing loss to find the best device for you. (Some audiologists will even offer a free hearing screening to determine if further testing is required.) Online distributors don’t perform hearing tests, so the chances are good you’ll choose the wrong instrument for your lifestyle and needs. And if you discover your hearing aids aren’t helping, you may not be able to return them for a full refund.
- Fitting and programming – Most people who purchase hearing aids online are unable to properly fit and program their own devices, which prevents optimal performance and may damage their remaining hearing. A hearing professional will be able to ensure correct fitting and programming of your devices.
- Follow-up care – Some audiologists offer Complete Hearing Health Care (CHHC) programs, which include annual testing, adjustments and reprogramming (as necessary), thorough cleanings and maintenance, repairs, batteries, and ongoing consultation, as well as aural rehabilitation.
- Most major manufacturers (such as Oticon) do not sell their hearing aids online, so the quality of devices sold online may be questionable.
What’s the difference between an audiologist and a hearing aid dispenser?
The main differences between a licensed hearing aid dispenser (also referred to as a licensed hearing instrument specialist) and an audiologist are education and experience.
- In the state of New York, a licensed hearing aid dispenser requires only a high school diploma (or equivalent), two years of college accredited coursework, and a passing grade on a board-administered examination.
- However, an audiologist in New York must have a master’s or doctoral degree in audiology and a minimum of nine months of supervised training. He or she also must pass a rigorous board-administered examination.
Audiologists have acquired knowledge and extensive training and are best qualified to provide comprehensive solutions to patients seeking complete hearing health care.
Once you’ve chosen a provider you trust, be sure to ask questions, and be thorough in explaining your needs and expectations. Inquire about warranties, trial periods, promotions, and whether they offer a free hearing screening.
Choosing and purchasing the right hearing aid doesn’t have to be difficult. At Audio Help Hearing Centers, our experienced audiologists have been providing hearing solutions to residents of New York City since 2000. Let us help you hear again. Schedule an appointment today.