Sad but true many Americans know little about hearing aids, not to mention hearing loss in general. Maybe we have a friend who has hearing loss and wears hearing aids, always complaining and grumbling and maybe dear old dad just shelled out $4K for a pair of hearing aids. For most of us, that’s the extent of our knowledge about hearing aids – if that.
Fact is, most of us know nothing about hearing aids so if you’re shopping for something that’s going in or behind your ear, and set you back the cost of a four-day cruise, doesn’t it make sense to know a little something about what you are purchasing?
The Hearing Loss Association of American (HLAA), the nation’s leading organization representing people with hearing loss, recognized a need to educate hearing aid consumers and has recently published a consumers’ guide to help first-time buyers and ear gear vets on how to talk to a hearing aid professional as an intelligent, informed consumer. As a consumer you know your daily listening needs and issues, so if you compile a list of questions that apply to your preferences and lifestyle, well you’re naturally going to get the best hearing aids for you.
Telecoils, Directional Microphones, etc.
Do you have a clue what a telecoil is or what it does or whether you need one? How many microphones does that hearing aid have? Are BTEs more natural sounding than CICs? Do you ask about assisted listening devices? The average consumer does not and typically sits there listening instead of taking an active role in the selection of the right hearing aids for you and your lifestyle.
By understanding the various features and options available in today’s digital hearing aids, you will be able to make a well informed decision on which hearing aid is right for you and what features you should pay for.
How Much Do Hearing Aids Cost?
|Be an educated hearing aid consumer|
Got a clue?
$200? $500? A bazillion dollars? Well, depending on your specific hearing needs – based on a hearing evaluation performed by a hearing health professional – you could spend a little or a lot depending on your personal needs and preferences.
Pricier hearing aids come with all kinds of goodies. Some talk to you, like HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey. (“Good morning, Dave.”) Some learn your preferences and run on auto-pilot throughout the day to cut down on fussing. In fact, a lot of consumers report that they forget they’re wearing hearing aids.
The point is, before you plunk down a wad of cash, do some homework. And HLAA has made it easy for you to become an educated, hearing aid buyer, able to ask the right questions and actually understand the answers by placing htem all on one simple form that you are able to print off and take with you to your hearing aid evaluation appointment.
The following are examples form the HLAA consumer checklist form:
- Were you given a full hearing screening or a hearing exam (with definitions, of course)?
- Do you know what type of hearing loss you have?
- Do you understand why the hearing professional recommended a BTE rather than an RIC or CIC? Heck, do you know what these letters mean?
- Were you given options to your hearing loss, for example, several types of hearing aids?
- Did you receive information about using the telephone with hearing aids and options that may help with that?
The HLAA’s consumer checklist makes it easy to educate yourself on a hearing aid purchase and ask the right questions while discussing hearing aids with your audiologist or licensed hearing aid dispenser. By asking the right questions you are not only education yourself, but you are assuring you are getting the level of care you deserve and that all of your needs are being addressed.
Would you buy a car without asking questions? Absolutely not. Hearing aids are no different and clicking on the link for the consumer checklist will get your started on a short course to purchasing a hearing aid. And it’s fun. No test to pass.
Partnering with Your Professional
A hearing aid professional (audiologist or licensed hearing aid dispenser) is an essential ingredient in finding the right hearing aid for your needs, likes and dislikes, no doubt about it. Some big box stores are selling hearing aids off the rack and letting the consumer figure out how tab A fits into slot B.
A hearing aid is a quality of life thing, not just a “hearing the TV” better thing, so you want the best hearing aids that will suit your hearing loss, lifestyle and listening needs. By partnering with a qualified hearing aid professional and educating yourself you will ensure you are making a wise investment and purchasing hearing aids that will work for you.
So if you are thinking about purchasing hearing aids, keep clicking and reading about the latest in hearing aid technology. Read about the latest in hearing aid technology by downloading Healthy Hearing’s Consumer Guide to hearing aids (free of course).
And when it comes time to you visit the hearing pro to pick out your hearing aids, print off HLAA’s Purchasing a Hearing Aid: A Consumer Checklist. This checklist will aid you in asking the right questions and ensuring all the bases were covered before you make your final choice.
Hearing aids will change your life and you want to make sure you are getting exactly what is right for your life.