Hearing Aids: What You Should Know Before You Buy!
- See your doctor first unless you have had a physical within the last 6 months. Some hearing aid specialists will ask you to sign a medical waiver in order to speed up the process of hearing aid sales. This is not in your best interest.
- Check out the business selling hearing aids by contacting your local Better Business Bureau, consumer protection agency, or state attorney general.
- Know the difference between Audiologists and hearing aid dealers! Today, Audiologists require an Au.D., Doctor of Audiology, to certify. (This is NOT an M.D., however!). Most have at least a Masters in Audiology, and they provide diagnostic audiological services. They also have training in areas such as listening/communication strategies and the perception of sound. Hearing aid dealers become experts in hearing aid technology through numerous courses and apprenticeships with other hearing aid dealers. Both are in the business of selling hearing aids. What matters most is that the professional you choose is knowledgeable, ethical and provides a patient-driven service rather than a sales-driven service.
- Take someone with you when you go for your hearing aid evaluation who will take notes for you. The results of the hearing test and the options for hearing aids can be confusing.
- Beware of ‘the deal’! If the Audiologist or dealer tries to pressure you with promises like ‘10% discount’, ‘$1,000 off’, ‘a lifetime of free follow-up visits’, ‘a lifetime of free batteries’, etc., this is a good indication that he or she is sales-driven. Many are under contract to sell a certain number of hearing aids a year, putting their own interests ahead of yours.
- Take advantage of the 30 day trial period. In Virginia, you can return the hearing aids at the end of that time if you are not happy with them.
- Ask about fees for returning the aids. Each dispenser has his or her own business policies regarding the fee for returning them – it can be anywhere from 4% to 20% of the cost of the hearing aid.
- Please remember:
- Hearing aids do NOT stop hearing loss.
- Hearing aids will NOT restore your hearing to normal.
- ALL Audiologists and dealers will provide free hearing aid adjustments during the trial period.
- There is NO BEST HEARING AID because everyone’s hearing loss is different; what works for one person might not work for someone else.
- You own your audiogram, be sure your specialist gives it to you.
- A hearing aid should fit comfortably and not whistle.
- No hearing aid cuts out background noise, but it can be made more tolerable.
- Ask about the telecoil – is it appropriate for your hearing loss. The telecoil is a small magnetic coil inside the hearing aid that bypasses background noise when you are using the telephone or an assistive listening device. It is a very valuable feature and you can activate it with the push of a button.
Articles related to Hearing Aids
NVRC Related Fact Sheets
If you have a complaint contact:
Better Business Bureau
1411 K Street NW, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20005-3404
Virginia Dept. of Professional
and Occumpational Regulation
3600 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23230