Stop! Don’t buy that new hearing aid just yet!

 

Take a few minutes so that you are guided on how to properly purchase new hearing aids. Direct mail pieces are coming to your home on a daily or weekly basis. These direct mail pieces promise the latest and greatest technology at a very reduced price. As with any marketing, BEWARE.  

Remember the old adage, “You get what you pay for”.  Well, it is especially true when talking about technology and hearing aid devices. Technology is what we are all paying for, but not the technology of today, we are paying for the technology of tomorrow. Hearing aids that are advertised for rock bottom prices are using technology that is old and not nearly as sophisticated as the devices that cost more. All hearing aids are digital, so that claim is not unique or special in today’s market.

The other piece of the expense is the professional fee. There are two groups licensed to dispense hearing aids, Audiologists, highly educated professionals with doctoral degrees and thousands of hours of training. The other group is hearing aid dispensers. This group has very little education and training and are not formally trained and have no background in anatomy, physiology or auditory neurology.  If possible, always be seen and fit by an Audiologist. These are the professionals who understand the entire auditory system and are trained to understand disease, pathology and other issues related to the entire auditory system.  A hearing aid dispenser is just that someone trained to fit a hearing aid and nothing more.

There are many tricks and gimmicks that are advertised out there.  Know who is paying for the advertising that you are looking at. If there are logos from a hearing aid manufacturer, be assured that company is paying for much of the advertising, so you will be fit with that brand whether or not it is the most appropriate for you hearing loss. Although all the major hearing aid manufacturers have great products, there are some that are more appropriate for certain types of hearing loss. This is where the skill of an audiologist is important.

Many times the marketing can be deceiving, so ask questions when getting ready to purchase. Many advertise 50% off the MSRP. First, there is no MSRP for hearing aids. Second, no one ever sells a hearing aid for what they are stating the MSRP to be. Chances are the cost of the hearing aids are always 50% off the MSRP and this advertising is no completely truthful. National franchise offices often have higher prices, because part of their cost is to pay the franchise a portion of the sale. Hearing aid dispensers also tend to charge more because these individuals only sell hearing aids and can’t make money on diagnostic exams, or insurance claims.

Always beware of what you are getting and what is being advertised. Make sure you see an audiologist and ask questions. Hearing aids are expensive, mostly because the actual cost of hearing aids to the audiologist can be upwards of $4000.00. Therefore, the cost to the patient has to be more, but with that cost you should receive great service, including follow-up visits. It is a law for a trial period to be given. You should receive a refund if you return the hearing aids within that trial period time.

Hearing aids are a great investment in your health and well-being. Satisfaction should be high and is directly related to the knowledge of the one fitting the devices. Technology has made hearing aids more acceptable, more reliable and easier to use. So go ahead and hear what you have been missing for all these years. Just be an educated consumer.