“Should I repair or replace an older hearing aid?” is among the more common questions we are asked. The truthful answer needs to be, “That depends.” This is an individual choice, and the “best answer” is as individual as the people who ask it.
For starters, it must be noted that hearing aids – no matter how well-built they are and what their initial cost was – sometimes break, or start to perform incorrectly. They operate, after all, in an environment (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 safeguards the lining of our ear canals, but it can “gum up the works” of hearing aids; likewise, lingering moisture is natural after swimming or bathing, but it too can damage hearing aids. Over and above the hostile environment, unintended 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 repair or replacement sooner or later. They are not going to keep going forever.
One of the things that should most affect your decision to “repair or replace” is whether you like your current hearing aids. If you do, it may be easier for you to have them repaired than to switch to newer digital hearing aids with a different set of sound characteristics.
One more thing to consider, obviously, is cost – new hearing aids might cost thousands, but fixing your present aids might cost only a few hundred dollars. This monetary concern can be affected by insurance, however, which in some instances covers replacement hearing aids, but will not cover having existing hearing aids repaired.
If you opt to have your hearing aids repaired, another question that arises is, “Should I take them to the location I purchased them from, or send them to one of the numerous repair labs who advertise on the Internet?” While internet advertisers will try paint your local hearing instrument specialist as just a middle-man, that isn’t correct. There are several advantages to staying local. Your local hearing instrument specialist can establish if repairs are truly necessary, might be able to make small repairs themselves, or have relationships with local tradesmen that work on your brand of hearing aid so you will reduce the length of time you are without it.For hearing aid repairs which cannot be completed locally, your hearing professional will take care of the shipping, paperwork and laboratory instructions for you. Because they work in volume with suppliers, their pricing may be the exact same or better than you could get yourself.
If you choose to replace your hearing aid, you will have many additional options to consider since the last time you shopped. More recent digital hearing aids have additional features that may help your hearing and can be more readily programmed to work the way you need them to. So the decision whether to “replace or repair” is still yours, but we hope this information will assist you.