The selection and purchase of a first hearing aid can be an overwhelming task for anyone. The publication Consumer Reports followed a dozen people over a period of six months as they shopped for their first hearing aid, and reported on it. Their report was dismaying: two-thirds of the aids purchased ended up being misfitted, or amplified the sounds either too much or too little. 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. Fortunately, there are a few simple tips you can follow so you can find the most comfortable hearing aid for you and avoid expensive mistakes. However, we can’t cover all the information you need to make this important decision in this article so please have a read through Your Guide to Buying Hearing Aids – a useful in-depth decision making tool provided by The Better Hearing Institute (BHI). The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is a non-profit that publishes information on hearing loss and its treatment, including this guide and many others. Here are our tips:
Seek professional help
Make an appointment to see one of our audiology specialists or any other certified hearing specialist in your area. You can be best prepared for your appointment by reviewing the BHI guidelines beforehand. Those guidelines will help you to know what to expect, and what types of questions to ask.
Determine which type of hearing aid you need
Your certified hearing specialist will help you determine which hearing aid is best for you. During your examination in Step 1 they will conduct an examination and hearing tests to diagnose the type and severity of any hearing loss. The type of aids you choose should reflect which type is best for your particular hearing problems, and for your budget.
Do your research
After determining the type of hearing aid you need, use the Internet to look up information about different models. Your research should focus on any reports of problems or repairs, consumer reviews on comfort and reliability, as well as price comparisons.
Locate a reputable vendor
This may be the hearing specialist you went to in Step 1, or someone recommended by them. The vendor should be able to make molds of your ears and fit the aids properly. Though it is tempting to purchase your hearing aid over the Internet, you would be skipping the critical step of having a custom fitting that would increase the likelihood of your hearing aid’s comfort and suitability.
Ensure proper fit and performance
The vendor should perform tests to make sure of a proper fit and that everything is working correctly during your first fitting. A “satisfaction guaranteed” warranty and free follow-up appointments for fine-tuning and adjustments are standard with reputable vendors.
Good luck, and know that our specialists are here to help you in any way that we can.