The selection and purchase of a first hearing aid can be an overwhelming task for just about anyone. Consumer Reports published a comparative report on hearing aids after following over a dozen people for six months while purchasing their first hearing aids. Their report was dismaying: two-thirds of the aids purchased ended up being misfitted, or amplified the sounds either too much or too little. Customers wound up paying widely-varying prices for the same units, and did not always receive the kind of information they were looking for from the vendors.
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). 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 – You can do this either by calling us for an appointment, or by consulting another certified hearing specialist in your area; either way we suggest you read the BHI guidelines before your first appointment. Those guidelines will help you to know what to expect, and what types of questions to ask.
- Decide which type of aid is best for you -This is decided while working with the specialists, who will use tests they conduct during Step 1 to determine your type and severity of hearing loss. 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.
- 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 – The vendor may be the specialist you saw in Step 1, or can be someone recommended by them. Your hearing aid vendor should be trained and equipped to make molds of your ears to fit your hearing aid 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.