If you think you’re losing your hearing, consider seeing a doctor or other health professional who specializes in hearing loss. If a hearing aid is right for you, it’s a good idea to do some research. A hearing aid can be expensive. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Look for a reliable provider. Ask family and friends for referrals, talk with your doctor, and check out potential sellers (retailers, audiologists, and dispensers) online before you visit. Enter the professional’s name and the manufacturer’s name into a search engine online, and find out what other people have to say.
Consider the price. As with many tech devices, a more expensive model might be worth the price to you, or it might contain fancy features you don’t really need. At the same time, be skeptical of hearing aids that seem to have an exceptionally low price.
Resist sales pressure. Buy only when you’re satisfied with the answers to your questions. Make sure the person you are dealing with puts their promises or guarantees about service and maintenance into the written purchase agreement.
Don’t buy a hearing aid without first trying it out. Most states require a 30- to 60-day trial period. Most hearing health professionals offer this even in states that don’t require it.
Get information about the warranty. How long is the warranty? Can it be extended? Does it cover maintenance and repairs? Is it honored by the manufacturer or by the licensed hearing health care professional?
Ask if you’ll get a free loaner hearing aid if your device needs servicing or repair.
Find out what’s included in the total price. Hearing aids, fitting services, follow-up, more? Get an itemized list, and make sure you get any verbal quotes and promises in writing.
For more information, please see the FTC’s recently revised article, Buying a Hearing Aid.
by Colleen Tressler
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC