- Ask about warranties and loss and damage coverage.
- Avoid aggressive sales tactics
- Beware of "bait and switch" sales
- Never buy a hearing aid from a door-to-door salesperson or by mail order
- Avoid "one size fits all" advertising claims
- Ask to see credentials
- Online sources may not offer proper fitting, customer support or they charge for adjustments
- DO NOT pay by cash or money transfer - If an online seller asks you to deposit cash into their bank accounts or make a direct money transfer such as Western Union to them, be very careful. When you pay by cash or money transfer, you are no longer protected in the case the seller does not deliver what you have purchased.
See An Audiologist
The first step to getting help for hearing problems is to see an audiologist. An audiologist is a health professional who specializes in the identification, evaluation, rehabilitation and prevention of hearing impairment. All audiologists must hold at least a master's degree in audiology and complete a clinical fellowship. The State of Colorado requires that anyone who dispenses hearing aids must be registered with the Department of Regulatory Affairs. You should verify registration by calling (303) 894-2464.
Steps to Purchasing Aids
- See an audiologist
- Get a complete hearing examination
- Obtain medical clearance when indicated
- Choose style and appropriate circuitry
- Understand your purchase contract before signing it
- Complete a 30-day trial period
- Arrange for regular follow-up visits
The Colorado Academy of Audiology wants to assure that all hearing aid fittings are successful. Modern technology allows us to be able to fit almost everyone with any type or degree of hearing loss.
What to expect in an Exam
After a thorough case history, the provider who fits your hearing aid will give you a series of tests that determine the type and extent of your hearing loss and your ability to understand speech. Testing is more accurate if it is done in a sound-treated (sound proof) room. Further testing should also be done after you have been fit with your hearing aid(s). Comprehensive testing, performed by an audiologist will assure proper identification of hearing losses that require medical attention by a physician.
One Aid Vs. Two Aids
Research indicates that if you have hearing loss in both ears, you will probably hear and understand better with hearing aids in both ears. Following a complete examination, the audiologist will discuss with you what would be best to improve your hearing.
What Can Hearing Aids do for Hearing Loss?
Today's hearing aids are much more advanced than in previous years. Due to recent improvements in microelectronics, these instruments are now smaller, lighter and superior in sound quality as compared to older models. Hearing aids are individually made for the shape of your ear and with components to match your hearing loss. They are designed to make speech understandable and other sounds audible. The audiologist will provide hearing aid orientation and training in the use and care of your hearing aids.
Hearing Aid Types and Styles
Hearing aids are selected by the style and circuitry which is most beneficial for your hearing loss. The complexity and size of the technology necessary to accommodate your hearing loss will also affect the cost of your hearing aids. Similar to other equipment purchases, style and features affect cost. However, don’t use price alone to determine the best hearing aid for you. Just because one hearing aid is more expensive than another does not necessarily mean that it will better suit your needs.
It is required by law that within six months prior to purchasing a hearing aid, you have a hearing evaluation.
The Federal Food and Drug Administration requires a written statement that the first time buyer has been examined by a physician, and that there is no medical reason why hearing aids cannot be fitted. You may waive the medical exam if you choose, unless you are under the age of 18.
Under Colorado State Law, hearing aid purchasers must have a 30 day trial period. If, during that time, you decide not to keep the hearing aids, the only fee that is nonrefundable is an itemized amount not to exceed 5% of the sale to cover actual manufacturers return fees and the cost of custom materials.
If you have any questions concerning yourself or a loved one, ask an audiologist.
Hearing Aids For Sale On the Internet
Buying hearing aids on the Internet can sometimes save you several hundred dollars. But these savings can come at a cost.
- To work effectively, hearing aids must fit properly. If a mail-order/internet sale doesn't involve personal contact with a licensed dispenser, it's difficult for you to benefit from a proper fitting. Hearing aids are custom fitted to the ear to account for ear canal size and shape, and are custom programmed for the persons hearing loss and lifestyle needs.
- Follow-up evaluations are important to ensure the hearing aid is working appropriately and meeting your needs,which is difficult to accomplish on a web site. Professional follow-up is very important because a poorly adjusted hearing aid can be uncomfortable or even damage the ear.
- It may be difficult to get a refund from an out-of-state seller.
- Buying a hearing instrument online can bypass the medical clearance required by the Food and Drug Administration.
When buying a hearing aid, find one that will work for your hearing loss, budget and manual dexterity.
Better Hearing Institute -This guide explains the entire hearing aid journey as you take your first steps in the purchase of appropriate amplification.
AARP - Buying a Hearing Aid
NY Times article - Buying a Hearing Aid? You’ve Got a Lot to Learn