Shopping for and selecting your first hearing aid is a daunting task, and not just for you. Consumer Reports published a comparative report on hearing aids after following over a dozen people for six months while purchasing their first hearing aids. After six months the disappointing results were in: these first-time hearing aid owners were left with ill-fitting hearing aids with volumes either too loud or too soft. Prices varied widely, and the people selling them did not always provide the kinds of information the shoppers needed. 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. 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. It will help you to ask the right questions and know what the right answers are.
Determine which type of hearing aid you need
This depends on the type and severity of your hearing loss, and should have been determined by tests performed by specialists during Step 1. The type of aids you choose should reflect which type is best for your particular hearing problems, and for 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.
Find a reliable vendor
The vendor may be the specialist you saw in Step 1, or can be someone recommended by them. Whoever you select as the vendor, make sure they have the proper training to make molds of your ears and fit hearing 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‚Äôs comfort and suitability.
Make sure the aids fit and work properly
This should be done before walking out the door after your first fitting, and the vendor you select should support this. Most reputable vendors will do this, and provide a “satisfaction guaranteed” warranty, complete with free followup fittings or adjustments, if necessary.
Good luck, and know that our specialists are here to help you in any way that we can.