While the price might be right, there’s more to buying a hearing solution than price.
It is estimated that over 38 million people over the age of 12 in the United States have hearing loss in both their ears, according to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. That’s a significant number of Americans who could potentially benefit from hearing solutions. However, like many industries, the hearing aid industry has its fair share of hearing aid ripoffs, scams and other types of misleading claims. We’ve compiled a list of the top five things to look out for when shopping for hearing solutions so you can find the right product for your unique needs.
The fact is, hearing aids work best when fitted properly to the individual, when testing can be done to ensure the device is functioning properly, and when it meets your needs and lifestyle. In other words, hearing solutions are incredibly unique to the individual, so it’s important to avoid any companies or hearing aid brands that claim to offer a one-size-fits-all approach that works for almost everyone.
When shopping for a hearing solution, consider these factors:
- There are several types of hearing aids, including:
- Receiver-in-Canal Hearing Aid (RIC)
- Traditional Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aid (BTE)
- Completely-in-the-Canal Hearing Aid (CIC)
- In-the-Canal Hearing Aid (ITC)
- Traditional In-the-Ear Hearing Aid (ITE)
- While most individuals choose MBTE or BTE devices these days, the right option for you will depend upon your needs.
- Different hearing solutions offer different features, including feedback suppression, digital noise reduction, or bluetooth technology. Individuals should work with their hearing health provider to choose a solution that has the features that will best improve their quality of life.
- Hearing aids don’t last forever. When choosing a solution, consider your lifestyle and your future needs to get the best option for now and the next few years.
If you’ve done any research about hearing aids, you might be wondering “Why is a hearing aid so expensive?” or “How can I get a hearing aid for free?” Good hearing solutions do cost money, although deals can certainly be found. The important part here is to do your research before buying if a deal sounds too good. If you see offers for “buy one get one,” “limited time offers,” or super low-cost devices, check into it and ensure you’ll be able to try out the solution for a period of time before purchase.
The right provider will understand that this is a big decision and an important part of your quality of life. Take your time, consider all the features available, and compare hearing aid prices within your budget to find the right solution at the right price.
Maybe you’ve seen hearing solutions that claim to be “the best on the market” or that can “make your hearing 100% better.” Claims like these are almost always false, or at least a pretty serious stretch. If you’re unsure whether or not a claim is true, there are a couple of ways to go about fact-checking it.
You could ask a hearing health professional, like those available through Alpaca Audiology. Our providers work with all the major hearing aid manufacturers, so they’re not biased about brands and can provide you with detailed information. You could also search online for the device name or company name plus “scam” or “hearing aid ripoffs” to see what comes up. Take note of any red flags. This is a big purchase, so you want to get it right.
Most hearing aid brands provide you with a trial period to test out your aid to make sure it’s the right fit, you like the way it sounds, and it’s comfortable. Be wary of hearing solution providers that try to sell you on a short trial period—like just a few days, or even hours in some cases.
The truth is, you need more than this to really adjust to your new hearing solution. Even if you’re familiar with the brand, it’s just too risky. You won’t be able to fully judge fit and quality in that short of a time. Instead, look for providers that provide 30 or 90 day trials—in addition to an in-office demo so you understand how to use all the features.
While the FDA is currently working on standards and guidelines for OTC hearing solutions, it’s important to analyze over the counter hearing aid options and compare the kinds of services they provide in comparison to solutions purchased from hearing health providers.
Many OTC options are actually amplifiers rather than actual hearing aids, meaning they’ll just amplify everything—including all the normal background noises around you. While options like this might be cheaper, they may not provide the kind of personalized comfort and fit you can achieve from a professional hearing screening and fitting. What’s more, the wrong types of hearing aids could actually do more damage to your hearing, so spending the time to find the right product is imperative.
Still searching online for “Hearing centers near me?” to find a clinic that you can trust? Alpaca Audiology operates more than 200 community best-in-class clinics throughout the United States. We’re on a mission to unite top-tier hearing health brands with community-based clinics to connect you to hearing health professionals and the right hearing solution. That’s why our providers work with all of the leading hearing aid manufacturers to better connect you with the absolute right solution for your unique needs. Find a hearing clinic near you today.