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. This article is too short to provide all the tips that would be useful, so to supplement it we recommend Your Guide to Buying Hearing Aids. It is an article provided by a non-profit corporation called the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), which provides educational materials about hearing loss and how to correct it. Here are our suggestions:
- Consult a professional hearing specialist – 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.
- Select the hearing aid that best suits your needs and lifestyle – This depends on the type and severity of your hearing loss, and should have been determined by tests performed by specialists during Step 1. Settling on the perfect hearing aid for you will take into account the type of hearing loss you are experiencing as well as your budget.
- Research hearing aids of this type – Once you know which type of aid is bested suited for you, go to the Internet. Your research should focus on any reports of problems or repairs, consumer reviews on comfort and reliability, as well as price comparisons.
- 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. While it is possible to buy hearing aids on the Internet, this is not recommended because most models have to be custom-fitted.
- Make sure the aids fit and work properly – Your first fitting should include tests by your vendor to ensure comfortable fit and good function of your new hearing aid. Most reputable vendors will do this, and provide a “satisfaction guaranteed” warranty, complete with free followup fittings or adjustments, if necessary.
We wish you good luck with selecting your first hearing aid, and want you to know that we are here to provide help if you need it.