If you’re shopping for your first hearing aid and finding the process confusing, you are not alone. When Consumer Reports did a comparative report on hearing aids, they followed consumers for six months as they tried to figure out which one to buy. 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. 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. In addition to their suggestions, here are ours:
Step 1 – See an audiology professional
Make an appointment with us or with another certified hearing instrument specialist in your area, and read the information in the BHI guidelines before you go. The BHI guidelines will walk you through what you can expect at your first appointment and what questions you may need to ask your specialist.
Step 2 – 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. The type of aids you choose should reflect which type is best for your particular hearing problems, and for your budget.
Step 3 – Research hearing aids of this type
After selecting the type of hearing aid that is best for your situation use the Internet to research different models. Your research should focus on any reports of problems or repairs, consumer reviews on comfort and reliability, as well as price comparisons.
Step 4 – Find a reliable vendor
This vendor may be your hearing instrument 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. You can buy hearing aids over the Internet, but because most models must be custom-fitted, we do not recommend this.
Step 5 – Your hearing aid should fit comfortably and sound great
This should be done before walking out the door after your first fitting, and the vendor you select should support this. Most reputable vendors will do this, and provide a “satisfaction guaranteed” warranty, complete with free followup fittings or adjustments, if necessary.
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!