How to shop for a Hearing Aid

Shopping for a new set of hearing aids for my mother was monumental.    When I set out to test the hearing aid market, I faced the same challenges of many consumers shopping for hearing aids….a competitive marketplace with confusion of quality, model, and price.  The first lesson I learned is a hearing-aid provider is only as good as the clinician that evaluates the hearing loss.

The Food and Drug Administration which regulates the hearing loss industry, requires an initial doctor’s examination.  We started this process by visiting an ENT.  (Ear Nose Throat Specialist) This appointment was covered under Mom’s Medicare program.   After the examination, the ENT referred us to an audiologist.

I highly recommend having an audiologist evaluate and dispense the hearing aid.   Audiologists have a doctorate and will do an extensive hearing assessment in a soundproof booth to determine the type, degree, and dimension of your hearing loss.  Usually, the audiologist will dispense a variety of styles of hearing aids and will recommend the best fit based on ear mold and the needs and lifestyle of your loved one.  In recent years, technology for hearing-aids has made significant advances.  According to Consumer Reports, 73% of their surveyed hearing-aid users pronounced themselves highly satisfied with their aids.

The cost of hearing aids average $4,000.  Unfortunately, Medicare and most private insurance plans will pay only for the initial physician appointment.  For financial help, I would suggest checking the web sites of the Better Hearing Institute and the Hearing Loss Association for lists of federal and state assistance.  For now, I would ask these pertinent questions to the selected dispenser:

  • What type of assessment and testing do you do?
  • Can I get a copy of my test results?
  • May I have a copy of the contract prior to the purchase?
  • Do you sell a wide variety of products?
  • What is the minimum trail period and what does the warranty cover?
  • How often can I come in for adjustments?

In conclusion, choosing an ENT and a reputable audiologist can be just as important as choosing the hearing aid itself.  Taking the time to do the research to find a local clinician will contribute to the best aid for your hearing loss.


About the author

I am passionate about sharing senior citizen news and resources discovered from both my profession and personal journey.

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