One of the more common questions we hear is, “My older hearing aid is broken or is not performing the way it used to – do you think I should buy a new one, or have it fixed?” Presented with only that much information, we have to answer frankly, “Well, that depends.” This is an individual choice, and the “right answer” is as individual as the people who ask it.
It’s worth stating in advance, that all hearing aids, regardless of their initial price or quality, can be expected to break down eventually. They operate, after all, in an atmosphere (your ear canals) that is inhospitable to them because it contains moisture and ear wax. Ear wax is generated naturally, and we need it because it guards the lining of our ear canals, but it can “gum up the inner workings” of hearing aids; similarly, residual moisture is normal after swimming or bathing, but it too can damage hearing aids. Over and above the hostile environment, accidental breakage from drops, and wearing away of components both play a role in declining performance. You should be expecting that your hearing aids will need replacement or repair at some point. They won’t keep going indefinitely.
So how do you choose between repair and replace? The biggest consideration really is you, and whether you like your present hearing aids. If you like them and are familiar with the sound that they produce or really like the fit, repair may be the more sensible choice for you.
A second factor to consider, obviously, is cost – while a brand new set of hearing aids could cost thousands of dollars, your current aids might cost only a couple of hundred dollars to fix. This monetary issue can be influenced by insurance, however, which in some cases will pay for replacement hearing aids, but will not cover having existing hearing aids repaired.
If you decide to have your hearing aids fixed, another question that comes up is, “Should I take them to the place I bought them from, or send them to one of the numerous repair labs who advertise on the Internet?” There are numerous added benefits bringing them to a local hearing specialist as opposed to dealing with a remote repair lab directly. First off all, they can figure out if repairs are actually necessary. Second, they might be able to get the repairs done on site decreasing the length of time you do not have your hearing aid. For hearing aid repairs which can’t be accomplished locally, your hearing specialist will take care of the shipping, paperwork and lab directions for you. Because they work in volume with manufacturers, their prices may be the same or better than you can get on your own.
Far more options are available to those who choose to replace their current hearing aids. You’ll want to be open-minded about new designs and technology acknowledging that anything new takes getting accustomed to. Newer hearing aid models may have features that you are interested in, and can be finely adjusted to match your individual hearing needs. So the choice whether to “repair or replace” is still yours to make, but hopefully this advice will assist you.