When it’s time to shop for a car, most of us know exactly what to do. We carry out some research, compare options, and compile a list of questions to ask the dealership. We do this so that by the time we’re ready to stop by the dealership, we have an idea of what we’re looking for and we know which questions to ask.
When it’s time to choose hearing aids, however, most people don’t know where to get started. Although the process is similar to purchasing a car, it’s also in many ways more complicated (and probably not quite as fun). It’s more complex because each person’s hearing loss is unique and each pair of hearing aids needs custom programming. If purchasing a car was like this, it would be like you bringing it home and having to install the transmission yourself.
Thankfully, you don’t need to know how to program your own hearing aids, but you do need to know the questions to ask to make sure that your hearing instrument specialist covers all bases, properly programming the most appropriate hearing aids for your needs and lifestyle. In this manner, compiling a list of questions to go over with your hearing instrument specialist is the single most important thing you can do prior to your hearing test.
But which questions should you ask? Here are 35 to get you up and running, broken down by category:
Specific kinds of hearing loss require different forms of treatment. The more you understand your own hearing loss, the better you’ll be able to sort through hearing aid options. You want to determine what type of hearing loss you have, if it will get worse, how soon you should treat it, and all of your treatment options.
Questions to ask:
- What type of hearing loss do I have?
- Do I have unilateral or bilateral hearing loss?
- Can I have a copy of my hearing test?
- Will my hearing loss worsen over the years if left untreated?
- Will hearing aids improve my hearing?
- How much of my hearing will hearing aids repair?
- What are my other alternatives other than hearing aids?
HEARING AID STYLES AND FEATURES
Hearing aids are made in multiple styles, from many producers, loaded with many features. You need a organized way to narrow down your choices to be sure that you get the most suitable hearing aid without wasting money on features you don’t need or want.
Questions to ask:
- How many different kinds of hearing aid styles do you offer?
- Which hearing aid style is most effective for my requirements and lifestyle?
- Which digital features would be valuable to me, and which could I do without?
- What are telecoils and directional microphones and do I need them?
- Do I need Bluetooth compatible hearing aids?
- Do my hearing aids need to be professionally programmed?
- Do I need one or two hearing aids, and why?
HEARING AID PRICES, FINANCING, WARRANTIES, AND TRIAL PERIODS
The total price of a pair of hearing aids typically includes the professional fees associated with custom fitting and programming, along with several other services or accessories. You want to ensure that you understand what you’re receiving for the price, if financing is provided, if insurance will help, what the warranty covers, the length of the trial period, and if any “restocking fees” apply to the end of the trial period.
Questions to ask:
- What is the total price of the hearing aids, including professional services?
- Do you supply any financing plans?
- Will my insurance coverage help pay for hearing aids?
- How much will my hearing aids cost me annually?
- Do the hearing aids have warranty coverage?
- How much do hearing aid repairs cost after the warranty has expired?
- Are repairs performed at the office or somewhere else?
- If my hearing aids have to be sent out for repairs, are loaner hearing aids available?
- Is there a trial period and how long is it?
- Is there a restocking fee if I return my hearing aids during or after the trial period?
HEARING AID OPERATION, CARE, AND MAINTENANCE
Your hearing instrument specialist should demonstrate to you how to care for, clean, and operate your hearing aids. To ensure that nothing is forgotten, make sure all of these questions are answered:
Questions to ask:
- How do I operate my hearing aids?
- How do I use hearing aids with telephones and other technology?
- Can you show me how to use all of the buttons, features, and settings for my hearing aids?
- What are environmental presets, and how do I access them?
- Do I need a remote control, or can I use my smart phone to operate the hearing aids?
- What batteries do I need, how long will they last, and how do I replace them?
- How should I clean and store my hearing aids?
- Do I need to return for follow-up appointments?
- How long will my hearing aids continue working?
- Do I need to update the hearing aid software program?
- Do I qualify for future hearing aid upgrades?
YOU’RE READY TO SCHEDULE YOUR HEARING TEST
Ok, so shopping for a pair of hearing aids may not be as fun as buying a new car. But the quality of life you’ll achieve from better hearing might very well make you more happy, as you’ll reconnect with people and take pleasure in the subtleties of sound once again. So go ahead and schedule that hearing test — your new pair of hearing aids are waiting for a test drive.