Shopping for and selecting your first hearing aid is a daunting task, and not just for you. 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. 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. 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. That said, there are tips that can help you when shopping for your first hearing aid, and in this article we’ll cover a few of them. We can’t provide all of the information that would be useful to cover in such a short set of tips, so we refer you in advance to an excellent set of guidelines at Your Guide to Buying Hearing Aids. These guidelines are provided on the website of the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), a non-profit corporation that educates the public about hearing loss and what can be done about it. Here are our tips:
Consult a professional hearing specialist
Make an appointment with us or with another certified hearing specialist in your area, and read the information in the BHI guidelines before you go. It will help you to ask the right questions and know what the right answers are.
Select the hearing aid that best suits your needs and lifestyle
This depends on the type and severity of your hearing loss, and should have been determined by tests performed by specialists during Step 1. Which type of hearing aid is best for you depends on the nature of your hearing loss, combined with your budgetary constraints.
Do your homework
After determining the type of hearing aid you need, use the Internet to look up information about different models. Look for price comparisons from different vendors, reports on the frequency of problems and repairs, and most important, reviews from users as to the unit’s comfort and reliability.
Search for and select a vendor you can rely on
This vendor may be your hearing specialist from Step 1 or someone they referred you to. 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.
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.
We are here to help you as you make the purchase of your first hearing aid and we wish you good luck on this exciting journey to better hearing!