I am often asked about how to deal with unwanted, used hearing aids. This question arises a lot more than you may expect for a variety of reasons. The hearing aid may have belonged to a relative who no longer needs it, or it may be yours and has been supplanted by a better one or by a cochlear implant.

Your first option, if the old hearing aid was yours, is to keep it as a backup in case something happens to your new hearing aid or you have to send it off somewhere for service.

If the hearing aid was originally expensive and is in good working order, you can consider selling it on a forum such as eBay or Craig’s List. Before doing this, however, check to see if it is legal to do so in your area; there are a surprising number of states in which it is not legal to sell used hearing aids. If you decide to try to sell it, be sure to list in your ad all the relevant information a buyer would want to know: the manufacturer and model number, the unit’s age and condition, warranty type, the type of battery it takes, and your reason for selling it. Look at other ads from the past few months to help you set a price. Do not expect to get back what you paid for it.

But if you can afford it, one of the best options for disposing of an old hearing aid is to give it to someone who needs one. Many people who need hearing aids cannot afford them, and there are organizations that collect old hearing aids and distribute them to people who need them. U.S. organizations that collect hearing aids and give them to people who need them include HARP Program by Lions Clubs International, Hear Now, and SHARP (Sertoma Hearing Aids Recycling Program). Another organization called Worldwide Hearing also collects used hearing aids for redistribution in developing nations where the people need them but cannot afford them.

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