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Deciding to take the steps to get hearing aids is a great decision. Your life will improve in some ways you probably expect, and maybe even some you hadn’t thought of yet! One thing is for sure: hearing aids are an important assistive device for those who are suffering from hearing loss, and they will help prevent a host of negative health and lifestyle outcomes.
But now how do you decide where to go, and which hearing aids to choose? Here are a few important things to consider when you set out to purchase hearing aids.
Bring a Friend
Whether it’s a friend or a loved one, bring someone with you when you take your hearing test and select your hearing aids. You’ll appreciate the support, and you can make a fun day of it. You’ll be giving and receiving a lot of information, and it never hurts to have someone to help you sort through your options and help you remember what needs to be considered going forward.
Choose a Trustworthy Provider
There are some fly-by-night companies selling hearing aids, or devices that are marketed to those who could benefit from hearing aids. While the price might be attractive, these devices aren’t fitted (programmed) to your hearing needs and they won’t function correctly for your hearing situation. The way they simply amplify any incoming sound might even make your hearing troubles worse.
Proper hearing aids can be sold by licensed hearing instrument specialists or by audiologists. Audiologists have a master’s or doctoral degree in audiology and may be better equipped to diagnose and treat your specific concerns. Get a referral from your doctor, or consult the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or the American Academy of Audiology to find qualified, trustworthy hearing healthcare providers in your area.
Consider What You Want From Your Hearing Aids
Part of your visit to a hearing healthcare provider will be an interview about your lifestyle and what you hope to get out of your hearing aids, so it’s not a bad idea to start thinking about this in advance. Are you active in groups and meetings, or employed somewhere where you need to communicate a lot? Or are you more of a homebody, trying to have better communication in quiet environments with one or two people at a time? Do you attend church or watch television? Whatever you’re trying to do, there is a set of hearing aids for you, and the better you can explain what you want, the better chance you’ll have of getting it.
Ask to Try Out a Set
After your hearing test, it should be possible for your provider to fit a hearing aid with a disposable tip, program it with your hearing loss profile, and let you see for yourself how it works. Keep in mind that hearing aids take some time to get used to, so you likely won’t feel totally comfortable right away with any set of hearing aids, but trying out a few models can give you a sense of which one might be the easiest for you to get used to.
While there are additional devices that can improve the functionality of your hearing aids in certain situations, consider whether you really need them. Directional microphones are a great option for those who do a lot of driving with passengers or meeting in groups, but in most situations they aren’t necessary. You can always decide to purchase them later, as well. Similarly, the telecoils can improve phone usage, but if you’re mostly texting or if you’ve got Bluetooth, you can probably get by without them.
Hearing aids are an investment in your health and well-being, and they are a significant one. They can cost between $1,600 and $3,000 per ear, and because almost everyone will need them at some point, neither Medicare nor most private insurers will cover the cost. All the same, Consumer Reports noted in 2014 that most retail prices reflect a 117% markup, which leaves a little space to negotiate on price.
Treating Hearing Loss
Depending how long your hearing loss has gone untreated, you may need some help rehabilitating the hearing centers of your brain to get used to hearing speech again. Contact us for a hearing test, and if a hearing loss is detected, our team will support you on your journey to better hearing!