One of the most frequent questions we hear is, “My hearing aid is broken or is not working the way it used to – do you think I should replace it and buy a new one, or have it fixed?” Presented with only that limited information, we have to answer truthfully, “That depends.” It is really an individual choice, and the “best answer” is as individual as the individuals who ask it.
It’s worth stating upfront, that all hearing aids, without regard for their initial price or quality, should be expected to break down sooner or later. The surroundings that hearing aids operate in – your ear canals – is a hostile one for complex electronic instruments, filled with ear wax (cerumen) and moisture. Ear wax is natural and necessary because it guards the sensitive lining of the outer ear, but it can be hard on hearing aids; water that is left in the ears after showering or swimming can be even tougher on them. Beyond the hostile environment, accidental breakage from falls, and wear and tear of parts both play a role in declining performance. You should be expecting that your hearing aids will need replacement or repair sooner or later. They won’t keep going indefinitely.
Probably the major factor you should consider when making the “repair or replace” decision is how you feel about your present hearing aids – do you like them, and the sound quality they deliver? If you like them and are familiar with the sound that they generate or really like how they fit, repair could be the more sensible choice for you.
A second thing to consider, naturally, is cost – while a new pair of hearing aids may cost thousands, your current aids may cost only a couple of hundred dollars to repair. Countering this, however, many people have insurance that will partly or fully cover the expense of new hearing aids, but which won’t cover fixing them.
If you decide to go after a repair, the next natural question is “Should I return them to where I bought them?”While internet advertisers will try paint your hometown hearing specialist as just a middle-man, that isn’t correct. There are numerous benefits of staying nearby. Your local hearing instrument specialist will be able to establish if repairs are genuinely necessary, may be able to make minor repairs themselves, or have connections with local craftsmen that work on your brand of hearing aid so you will lessen the length of time you are without it.For hearing aids that do need lab or manufacturer repairs, the clinic will handle all the paperwork for you. Do not assume the price will be higher for these value-added services, because audiologists deal with repair labs in bulk.
If you choose to replace your hearing aids, more options are available to you. Take some time to understand the technological advances since the last time you purchased and be open to newer models. Newer hearing aid models may have features that interest to you, and can be finely adjusted to match your individual hearing needs. So the decision whether to “replace or repair” is still yours, but we hope this advice will assist you.