The selection and purchase of a first hearing aid can be an overwhelming task for anyone. Consumer Reports published a comparative report on hearing aids after following over a dozen people for six months while purchasing their first hearing aids. Their report was dismaying: two-thirds of the aids purchased ended up being misfitted, or amplified the sounds either too much or too little. Customers wound up paying widely-varying prices for the same units, and did not always receive the kind of information they were looking for from the vendors. To spare you this experience, in this article we’ll try to provide a few tips to help you when shopping for your first hearing aid. This article is too short to provide all the tips that would be useful, so to supplement it we recommend Your Guide to Buying Hearing Aids. The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is a non-profit that publishes information on hearing loss and its treatment, including this guide and many others. Here are our tips:
Seek professional help
Make an appointment with us or with another certified hearing specialist in your area, and read the information in the BHI guidelines before you go. It will help you to ask the right questions and know what the right answers are.
Decide which type of aid is best for you
This depends on the type and severity of your hearing loss, and should have been determined by tests performed by specialists during Step 1. Settling on the perfect hearing aid for you will take into account the type of hearing loss you are experiencing as well as your budget.
Research hearing aids of this type
After selecting the type of hearing aid that is best for your situation use the Internet to research different models. Your research should focus on any reports of problems or repairs, consumer reviews on comfort and reliability, as well as price comparisons.
Locate a reputable vendor
This may be the hearing specialist you went to in Step 1, or someone recommended by them. Whoever you select as the vendor, make sure they have the proper training to make molds of your ears and fit hearing aids properly. You can buy hearing aids over the Internet, but because most models must be custom-fitted, we do not recommend this.
Make sure the aids fit and work properly
Your first fitting should include tests by your vendor to ensure comfortable fit and good function of your new hearing aid. Most reputable vendors will do this, and provide a “satisfaction guaranteed” warranty, complete with free followup fittings or adjustments, if necessary.
Good luck, and know that our specialists are here to help you in any way that we can.