6 Steps to Buying Hearing Aids
With a daily barrage of newspaper advertisements, direct mail, and online offers for the "best" hearing aids, where does one begin? This guide to purchasing hearing aids is intended to simplify the process for you as you begin your journey towards better hearing. The following steps represent the components of best practices which will translate into a more successful experience with hearing aids:
1. FIND A GOOD PROVIDER
The value you get out of your hearing aids will highly depend on the skills and expertise of the provider fitting the hearing aids. To locate a skilled provider, read online reviews, ask your primary care physician, and speak to friends or family members who are satisfied with their hearing aids. Good providers stay current with the latest technology and fitting procedures, offer a wide variety of styles and technology levels, take the time to match the best technology for your individual hearing needs and budget.
2. COMPLETE A HEARING EVALUATION
A thorough hearing evaluation will include a detailed case history, hearing needs assessment, otoscopic examination of the ear canal, testing of the middle ear to evaluate for potential medically-based issues, hearing test, and word recognition in quiet and in noise. The results of the evaluation will help guide you and the provider towards the appropriate style and technology level of the best hearing aid for you. Results will also indicate if you may benefit from assistive listening devices in addition to the hearing aids, e.g. amplified or captioned telephones, remote microphones, FM systems, built-in telecoil, or aural rehabilitation such as speechreading or speech-in-noise exercises.
3. PRESCRIPTIVE FITTING AND REAL-EAR MEASUREMENTS
Good providers will follow evidence-based practice to ensure you are getting the precise level of amplification you need for soft, moderate, and loud sounds. These practices include setting the hearing aids to specific levels of gain or amplification based on prescriptive formulas that have been tested for accuracy. A probe microphone is placed in your ear canal during the fitting to verify that the hearing aid is meeting those gain targets at every frequency which is required for good speech understanding.
4. TEST-DRIVE THE HEARING AIDS
How well will the hearing aids work outside of the provider's office? Find out if your provider offers a no-obligation demo period where you can wear the hearing aids in your environments so you can see they provide the hearing help you need and want.
5. ONGOING SERVICE AND STAFF
Hearing aids reside in the moist, humid, sometimes waxy environment of the ear canal. They require ongoing cleaning, maintenance, and service in order to function well over time. We recognize that hearing aids are a valuable investment, and recall our patients every 6 months in order to provide ongoing maintenance and service to your hearing aids. You can expect efficient, friendly service with a smile from our audiologists and support staff every time you call or visit. No problem is ever too small or too big for us!
6. PAYMENT OPTIONS
Hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and related services can be a substantial financial investment. At The Center for Audiology, we accept all credit cards, and most insurance plans, and are happy to verify your benefits for you. Our staff will work diligently to obtain your insurance benefits once you proceed with purchase. In addition, we offer payment plans via Care Credit or HealthiPlan. We will also identify state programs for which you may be eligible to help fund your hearing aid or assistive listening device.
Becoming a successful hearing aid user requires an active partnership between you, your family members or significant others, and your hearing healthcare provider. At The Center for Audiology, our mission is to maintain your ability to stay active, engaged, and connected to the world around you! We utilize all the best practices above in order to make your hearing journey the positive and wondrous one it should be.