Most Common Mistakes When Buying Hearing Aids

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Old man's hand showing a CIC (completely in canal) and a BTE (behind the ear) hearing aids

Coming to terms with hearing loss and finally deciding to look into hearing aids is no small choice. The truth is, nobody really wants hearing aids, but those who hear better because of hearing aids certainly don’t regret getting them.

Once we get over our reluctance to find out if we actually need hearing aids or not, there are some key pitfalls we must avoid falling prey to. All too often, people who are eager to “get it over with” or “find the best deal” when selecting their hearing aids end up wasting money on a pair that isn’t giving them the results or comfort that they should. Protect yourself from buyer’s remorse by considering these common mistakes hearing aid shoppers make:

Putting Style Over Function
Sure, we all want our hearing aids to be subtle and sleek. Some of the newer digital hearing aid models are even attractive enough to lure us in for that initial hearing evaluation. But buyer beware: no amount of classy packaging will ever make up for a device with poor functionality. Moreover, some of the smallest and sleekest hearing aids are simply not powerful enough to deliver the amplification that more severe hearing loss cases need. Be sure to heed the advice of your hearing provider on this one, because you’ll always hear the quality of the device, while the aesthetics will be out of sight.

Shopping for Hearing Aids after a Short Evaluation
These days, you can literally find a hearing test anywhere, but they’re certainly not all created equal. Consider a short hearing evaluation an immediate red flag, as a complete assessment should take closer to 45-60 minutes. The most accurate hearing tests occur within a soundproof room or booth, and should be preceded by a discussion of your medical history, your lifestyle and needs, and an examination of your ear canal and eardrum. Anything less and you’re selling yourself short.

Settling for a Provider
This is perhaps one of the most common pitfalls people with hearing loss fall into. While it’s understandable to head to the provider your insurance covers for your hearing evaluation, be aware that very few insurance plans will cover the cost of hearing aids and the fittings they require. It’s best to find out if all of the services you may require are actually covered by your plan before you make a decision on your hearing provider. Remember, if you end up needing hearing aids, you’ll be working with whoever you chose for years to come, so choose wisely. It’s important that you feel comfortable with your provider, and that he or she is professional, knowledgeable, and trustworthy.

Focusing on Price over Quality
While getting and maintaining hearing aids might seem like a big expense at first, consider asking yourself what your ability to hear is worth? It’s hard to put a dollar amount on one of our physical senses, and if our hearing has been gradually worsening, we might not even realize what we’re missing! There are so many areas in life where penny-pinching is savvy and smart, but selecting the right hearing aid is just not one of them. Remind yourself that you’re not just purchasing an electronic device – you’re purchasing the clarity of your loved ones’ voices and the sound of birds chirping again.

Expecting Immediate Results
While it may come as a surprise, no hearing aid will offer you perfect results the first week. This is because hearing aids are like prosthetic devices, and your body (especially your brain) needs time to fully adjust to them. Don’t be disheartened if your hearing aids feel “strange” or “unnatural” as you try them on and wear them the first few days. This is why virtually all hearing aids have a standard money-back guarantee, and why your hearing aid provider will schedule follow-up appointments for slight adjustments.

Skipping Follow-Up Fittings
Speaking of those follow-up appointments: don’t skip them! Usually hearing providers schedule the first follow-up fitting for about 2-3 weeks after your initial fitting. It’s common to feel comfortable enough with new hearing aids by that time, and to decide that a follow-up appointment is unnecessary. The problem is that there is no way to tell how well you’re actually hearing unless a post-fitting test is done, and your follow-up appointments enable your provider to do this and tweak any small details to ensure your device is providing you with optimal results.

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