If you’re shopping for your first hearing aid and finding the process confusing, you are not alone. When Consumer Reports did a comparative report on hearing aids, they followed consumers for six months as they tried to figure out which one to buy. 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. Fortunately, there are a few simple tips you can follow so you can find the most comfortable hearing aid for you and avoid expensive mistakes. 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. It is an article provided by a non-profit corporation called the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), which provides educational materials about hearing loss and how to correct it. Here are our suggestions:
Seek professional help
You can do this either by calling us for an appointment, or by consulting another certified hearing specialist in your area; either way we suggest you read the BHI guidelines before your first appointment. Those guidelines will help you to know what to expect, and what types of questions to ask.
Select the hearing aid that best suits your needs and lifestyle
This is decided while working with the specialists, who will use tests they conduct during Step 1 to determine your type and severity of hearing loss. 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
Once you know which type of aid is bested suited for you, go to the Internet. You should be looking for user reviews of the units’ reliability and comfort, price comparisons, and reports on the frequency of problems encountered with them.
Search for and select a vendor you can rely on
This may be the hearing specialist you went to in Step 1, or someone recommended by them. The vendor should be able to make molds of your ears and fit the aids properly. You can buy hearing aids over the Internet, but because most models must be custom-fitted, we do not recommend this.
Ensure proper fit and performance
Your first fitting should include tests by your vendor to ensure comfortable fit and good function of your new hearing aid. A “satisfaction guaranteed” warranty and free follow-up appointments for fine-tuning and adjustments are standard with reputable vendors.
We are here to help you as you make the purchase of your first hearing aid and we wish you good luck on this exciting journey to better hearing!