Recently many major hearing aid manufacturers have placed words of caution on their websites, warning consumers to not purchase hearing aids online or from internet retailers. Instead, purchase from a qualified and trained hearing aid professional to ensure the best possible outcome with your hearing aids.
A successful fitting of hearing aids is dependent on many factors beyond simply buying the right hearing aids for you and your hearing loss.
1. A hearing professional will evaluate your hearing loss through simple, painless testing. This is a critical aspect of any hearing aid purchase: what is the extent of the hearing loss and in what frequencies is the loss most severe.
Unfortunately, when you buy hearing aids on-line, there's no professional there between you, the buyer, and your purchase. So, the chances are pretty good that you'll buy the wrong hearing aids for your needs and lifestyle - and complain about it every day.
2. A good hearing device is one that can be tuned by a professional. Digital hearing aids are more sophisticated than over-the-counter amplifiers and the cheap hearing aids you see in magazines. Quality digital hearing aids are programmed differently at each frequency based on the amount of hearing loss to provide adequate amounts of amplification for each frequency independently.
An Internet retailer may send hearing aids programmed based on a hearing loss (although many don't even do that); however, that does not guarantee the hearing aid settings will be appropriate.
Programming hearing aids strictly on hearing loss does not equal a successful fitting. A successful fitting of hearing aids is when they are programmed to the wearer's preference, experience level with hearing aids, required listening environments and real-ear verification tests verify the fitting is accurate.
3. Properly fit hearing aids equal healthy hearing. When hearing aids are purchased over the Internet, safety can become a concern. How do you know how the hearing aids are programmed when they arrive in the mail? You don't. You will only know once you have turned them on and listen. And what happens when they are turned on full blast? There may be a risk of damaging your hearing.
4. After-purchase care. A hearing aid dispenser or audiologist is there to answer questions, make fine-tuning adjustments and monitor your hearing over the years. Expect to establish a long-term friendship with a good hearing aid professional. You'll be seeing each other regularly.
5. Trial periods, returns and guarantees. The hearing aid professional on Main Street wants to provide the best listening experience to suit the extent of your hearing loss, your preferences for style and, of course, quality of sound.
Most hearing aid professionals offer a trial period on newly purchased hearing aids - which is often a requirement of the state in which you live. They were with you one-on-one throughout the trial period to ensure the hearing aids are the right fit for you.
With an internet retailer you just don't get that kind of follow-up service or guarantee.
6. The money is forgotten but the benefits are there every day. Yep, you can save a couple of hundred bucks buying on-line, but many manufacturers of hearing aids encourage you to work directly one-on-one with a trained professional in order to obtain the best listening experience possible.
Hearing aids are more than mere amplifiers. They are complex digital electronic devices that are not only allowing people with hearing loss to hear, they are giving back quality of life and happiness too many. This type of investment is worth purchasing face-to-face from a trained and qualified hearing professional.
For more information on purchasing hearing aids over the internet visit: Hearing Aids on the Web: Click with Caution.