I Am Ready for Hearing Aids! How do I start and what should I ask?
By, Kevin Kock, AuD
For many, purchasing hearing aids might feel overwhelming or even confusing. There seems to be plenty of advertisements online or in the papers and all seem to be providing different information. For some, these conflicting messages add to the confusion. As a licensed audiologist, one of my favorite things to do is to empower patients with the knowledge to make the right hearing investment. Here are a few questions for you to ask!
- What do I need to do first?
Before you can get hearing aids, it is important to have your hearing tested by a licensed audiologist. This will help you know how much hearing loss you have and is a requirement to purchase hearing aids. Ask your doctor for a referral to an audiologist they trust, as some insurances may cover the cost of a hearing test.
- What does the process look like?
After the hearing test, you might have a hearing aid evaluation or consultation. At this time, the audiologist will learn what your communication needs are and where you want to see improvement. They will talk about hearing aid options and prices. After you choose a hearing aid, you will likely be fit with hearing aids after a few weeks. There, the audiologist will confirm that your hearing aid is correct for your hearing loss prescription and teach you how to use the devices. Most practices have a two-week follow-up and 30 day trial period. During this time, you make tweaks to your hearing aids. If you do not like the devices, there are options to potentially return them or try something else.
- Where do I look for good hearing aids and how do I know they will be fit for my hearing loss?
It is always best to see an audiologist for hearing concerns and hearing aid questions. Audiologists are doctorate or master’s degree clinicians. They have the education and background to help you find a solution that is fit appropriately and customized for your hearing loss.
- How many styles and options are there?
During your appointment, ask if the audiologist works with many manufacturers. It is important to ask if another clinician can program them if you travel. Hearing aids also have many potential features such as: rechargeable batteries, telecoil, phone applications, and even Bluetooth streaming for phone calls.
- What is included in the price?
It is important to ask what follow-up services are covered in the purchase price. This can cause a big difference. Some audiologists might charge more up front to include follow-up services for a certain period after purchase. Others might have you pay for each follow-up appointment.
- Can I try them out?
Some clinics allow for demo hearing aids either in office or to take home.Otherwise, most state regulations have a 30-day trial period during which you can return the hearing aid or switch for another option; Some fees may apply for a return.
If you have further questions, try scheduling an appointment with an audiologist today. If you do not know who to see, ask your doctor or a friend who enjoys their hearing aids where they go. An audiologist is always happy to help you obtain better hearing!