Top 10 list for hearing aid buyers
Buying new hearing aids is an important decision with the potential to greatly enhance your quality of life. Keep in mind these important considerations as you prepare to buy.
1. Choose a qualified hearing specialist
There are a variety of hearing health professionals who can diagnose and treat your hearing loss. Look for a hearing specialist with strong professional qualifications—including education and experience—and a good reputation in the community. Remember that price is not the only question when you’re searching for a provider. Moreover, when you see advertisements for hearing aids at a price that seems too good to be true, it probably is.
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2. Undergo a thorough evaluation
A comprehensive hearing test and evaluation is the first step toward identifying your hearing loss and finding a solution to address your specific hearing problem. Your evaluation should include a visual examination, several different types of hearing tests, and an impression of your ear canal to determine if you are a candidate for invisible or in-canal technology styles. Your results should be clearly explained to help you understand if you have hearing loss, and if so, what type and how severe it is. You should also clearly understand the types of sounds you are not hearing with your specific loss.
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3. Identify your needs
There are more choices in hearing devices than ever before, ranging from how they look and feel to specific features and levels of automation. In order to get the most benefit, it’s important to match your hearing needs to your lifestyle when choosing hearing aid style, features and controls.
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4. Carefully consider your investment
Hearing aids have a value as well as a price. As you decide what you can afford, make sure you consider the benefit they bring to your life, now and for years to come.
As you select a hearing aid style and technology level, be sure you have a clear understanding of exactly what’s included in the price of your hearing aids. You should get a written contract outlining the cost of the hearing instruments as well as the professional services included in the purchase—such as follow-up visits for training and device adjustments. Ask your provider about insurance coverage and the availability of other programs designed to reduce the cost of hearing aids.
5. Ensure a proper fitting
When you order custom-fit hearing aids, an impression is taken of your ear using a silicon-based putty. The cast is sent to a hearing aid earmold manufacturer where the customized hearing aid “shell” is made using a medical-grade acrylic.
These casts are usually quite accurate for replicating the shape of your ear—but in rare cases, the process needs to be repeated. Since hearing aids are worn all day long, work with your professional to ensure that they fit well and feel good—so you can get the full benefit of hearing aids.
Talk to your hearing professional if a customized earmold is uncomfortable, or if it moves or whistles when you talk or chew.
6. Follow up with your professional 7. Take the time you need to adapt
Be sure to keep follow-up appointments with your hearing specialist, so he or she can make sure your hearing aids are working as well as possible for you in every situation. It is normal to need adjustments as you get used to hearing a full spectrum of sounds again. Your hearing aids may initially be set for first-time users, with adjustments made as you are ready.
Remember that your hearing loss has likely occurred over a period of years. It will take time to adjust to wearing hearing aids and hearing the sounds around you. Your brain will get used to hearing sounds again, but at first it may be tiring. Tell your friends and family members that you are adjusting to new digital communication technology. You may also need to remind them they don’t need to speak loudly anymore.
8. Know the return policy
Be sure to find out exactly what the trial period is for your hearing aids, whether or not there are fees associated with returning your hearing aids, and if you will have the opportunity to try a different model if the first model doesn’t work well for you.
9. Understand your warranty
Your hearing specialist should provide you with a copy of the warranty and clearly explain what is and isn’t covered under warranty. You may also be able to purchase an extended warranty or loss/damage insurance that covers you after the warranty has expired.
10. Remember you can use hearing aids with other types of hearing systems
Ask your hearing professional about assistive listening systems and devices that work with your hearing aids. Examples include inductive loop and personal frequency modulation (FM) systems found in large gathering spaces, or wireless media streamers that send TV, stereo or computer sound directly to some hearing aids. Your hearing specialist can answer any questions you may have, and show you how various hearing devices work together.