Buying a Hearing Aid
Beware of “discounted” mail order or online personal sound amplifiers, and sound enhancers. These are not hearing aids and not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Hearing aids can also be purchased online. However, purchasing hearing aids through the mail or online often excludes important diagnostic audiologic (hearing) evaluation, hearing aid orientation and adjustment, and rehabilitation services. These professional services help to ensure that you receive quality hearing health care and receive the full benefit from your hearing aid. The professional audiologist may also make a referral for medical treatment, something that may not be discovered in an online purchase.
Do all audiologists dispense hearing aids?
Most but not all audiologists dispense hearing aids. Many people find that they receive the best hearing health care by using the same audiologist for all services. The ASHA-certified audiologist who provides hearing evaluations will most likely dispense hearing aids. If the Audiologist does not dispense hearing aids ask for a list of dispensing audiologists in your area or use ASHA ProFind to find an ASHA-certified audiologist near you.
How costly are hearing aids?
Hearing aids vary in price according to selected style, electronic features, and related needs for professional consultation and rehabilitation services. Hearing aid costs typically increase with more complex and sophisticated circuitry and smaller size.
Purchase price, an important factor, should be only one consideration in buying hearing aids. Product reliability can save on repair costs as well as avoid the frustration of a malfunctioning hearing aid. You should also think about the value of hearing sounds more clearly with a better device.
The life of the battery and cost of battery replacement also influence the overall cost of owning and maintaining a hearing aid. Batteries may last from several days to several weeks, depending on various factors. Key variables affecting battery life include power requirements of the aid, type of battery, and whether the aid is used routinely with an assistive listening device.
Each person's hearing loss presents unique characteristics. Consider your audiologist’s expertise about product quality and follow-up services when you make your purchase decision.