Things To Know Before You Buy A Hearing Aid

By: infocus
What is the cause of hearing loss and how can it be corrected with hearing aids? Hearing loss occurs to most people as they age. It can be due to aging, exposure to loud noise, medications, infections, head or ear trauma, congenital or hereditary factors, disease processes and other causes. The vast majority of hearing problems do not require medical or surgical intervention. Some cases of hearing loss can be corrected with hearing aids.

1. Electronic Hearing Aids

A hearing aid is an electronic, battery-operated device that amplifies and changes sound to allow for improved communication. Hearing aids receive sound through a microphone, which then converts the sound waves to electrical signals. The amplifier increases the loudness of the signals and then sends the sound to the ear through a speaker. So, if you suffer from a hearing impairment you may consider buying a hearing aid. But before you do, determine first whether a hearing aid will work for you and what to look for when shopping for one. The following tips can help you navigate the process of selecting a hearing aid.

2. Find A Good Distributor

A hearing aid distributor may be a trained audiologist or a merchant who specializes in selling hearing aids. Ask friends or family for referrals or you can check the reliability of a hearing aid distributor with your local Better Business Bureau, consumer protection agency, or state attorney general. Ask if there are any complaints on file, and how the company or professional has responded to the complaint. Don't feel pressured to rush into buying a hearing aid. Take your time.

3. Keep Your Options Open

Make sure the distributor you choose sells products from a variety of manufacturers so you'll have a good selection or you can shop around and compare prices and services offered by other distributors and audiologists. The difference in price and services can be very significant. A costly hearing device is not necessarily a more effective one.

4. Check The Distributor's Background

Learn about the complaint history and licensing or certification status with the state of the distributor.

5. Know How Pricing Works

Find out whether the distributor will charge you one flat fee or bill you separately for the hearing tests, the hearing aids and other services. Get a hearing evaluation from a distributor or an audiologist. Get both an ear examination from a physician and a hearing evaluation from a distributor. The physician will make sure your hearing loss isn't the symptom of an underlying medical condition, and the audiologist will make sure you're a good candidate for a hearing aid. However, choosing the right hearing aid is not a simple process. You need to try several different hearing aids, to see which one you could hear best and you are most comfortable with. You should buy the best matching set, with a fixed period of time for returning them if they did not work out.

Find out if a trial period or refund privilege is offered. Ask the distributor about a free trial period, and about trying out more than one hearing aid for comparison purposes. Many states recommend or require that consumers get at least a free 30-day trial period with a service fee (varying from five to 20 percent of the purchase price) if the consumer returns the product. In fact, manufacturers routinely make adjustments and permit hearing aid returns within 60 to 90 days at no charge to the distributor. A trial period is strong protection for such an important purchase, so ask before you buy.

6. Don't Take Unnecessary Risks

Realize the risks of purchasing a hearing aid from a door-to-door salesperson, through the mail or via an advertisement that says you don't need a hearing examination. You may get stuck with a shoddy hearing aid.

7. Read the contract carefully

The hearing aid purchase agreement should include any verbal promises and spell out whether the warranty will be honored by the manufacturer or the distributor, what services you'll receive and whether you'll get a replacement if your hearing aid needs repair.

8. Have realistic expectations

It may take some time for your brain to adjust to the hearing aid, so you may not be able to tell right away whether you like the way it's working. Also recognize that hearing aids can be a huge help, but they don't restore normal hearing and they don't work well in all situations.
Ear Nose and Throat
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