Hear Today, Gone Tomorrow: Navigating the Hearing Aid Market
By Drew Cobb
The hearing aid market is a confusing place. From the variety of hearing aid styles to the oft-exorbitant prices, it can be difficult to know how to proceed. Whether you have already bought hearing aids in the past or are new to the experience, the following tips will help you navigate your way to better hearing.
Know Your Options
When it comes to hearing aids, the options are as varied as the patients. Depending on the degree of hearing loss, the type of aid you want, and your hearing needs, you can find hearing aids that range from $500 to $3,000. Considering how diverse the field is, it can be difficult to know where to start. Comparing your options is the first step.
There are several kinds of hearing aids to choose from, including in-the-canal, in-the-ear, behind-the-ear, and in-the-ear (among others). The smaller and less noticeable the earpiece, the more expensive the aid generally is. Further, smaller aids tend to be less effective for more severe hearing loss. It is important to research each type of hearing aid based on price and function in order to find the right aid for your needs.
Once you know what your options are, you can then compare prices. This is probably the most painful part as hearing aids do not come cheap. However, if you have researched the available styles thoroughly, you will be better equipped to make a wise investment.
Consider you budget as you look at prices. While you may be interested in a more expensive model, find out if you can downgrade the style to achieve similar performance for your hearing needs. Also, beware of superfluous add-ons. Many salesmen will offer you hearing aid packages that include not only the regular functions but additional add-ons such as directional microphones or tele-coils, which help with hearing in noisy places and on phone calls, respectively.
If these are specific functions you need, certainly consider purchasing them at the extra cost. However, don’t be afraid to say no to add-ons you likely won’t use regularly.
Once you have looked at styles and gotten a feel for the range of prices, it is time to shop around. You can go to an audiology center or to a medical office that employs an audiologist who can fit and prescribe aids for you. There are also other distributors, such as Costco, who have hearing centers at their store locations and often offer lower prices for their products.
Additionally, you can search for hearing aids online; searching for them is as simple as typing “hearing aids Toronto” into your browser to locate distributors in your area. You can also order them online. However, while this is often the cheapest option, it does not always provide you with tailored hearing aids, so the product is usually ineffective for most customers.
Unfortunately, you will probably have to pay a good amount of money for quality hearing aids. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still get a good deal. The key is to shop around and do your research. The more informed you are of your choices, the better decision you can make concerning your hearing aids.
Test it out
Finally, once you have decided on your hearing aids, be sure to test them out. Check them for the physical fit (does it fit correctly and comfortably in your hear?) as well as the hearing functionality. Does the hearing aid operate the way you want it (and need it) to? Verify these things while you are still in the office. Then, if you have a problem, you can take care of it right away. You can request an automated “real ear” test to experience how it works in your ear before you commit.
In addition to studying civil law, Drew Cobb loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch.