Getting the Right Hearing Device – A Buyers Guide
Often, the most overwhelming part when taking the first steps to deal with a hearing loss is the device selection process itself.With so many providers and brands to choose from there is often an overload of information for the consumer, and with the significant financial investment attached it is important to make sure you end up with a suitable device that you and your loved ones will be happy with for years to come.
Luckily, the path to better hearing doesn’t have to be stressful. We have put together a few important tips everyone should consider before getting started:
Seek out a reputable audiologist for a comprehensive hearing assessment to rule out any hearing loss that may be correctable such as earwax, and middle ear conditions. If these issues arise, your audiologist may refer you to your GP/ENT for further investigation. Remember no referral is required to make an appointment with an audiologist.
Following this, your appointment may include a discussion comparing different technology as well as the different styles of hearing devices such as Behind The Ear (BTE), Receiver in The Ear (RITE) and custom In The Ear (ITE) devices. The audiologist will also assess and discuss whether two hearing aids will provide a better result overall.
Choosing an independent provider free of manufacturer owned influence will ensure you have been provided with all the options available on the global market at often much more competitive prices. Senior audiologist and director at one of South Australia’s largest independent hearing clinics Mr Robert Vinci says “independent providers essentially play the role of brokers, sourcing the best products and prices for each client from all manufacturers”.
Ask about a trial period.
You can usually get a hearing aid with a trial period. It may take you a while to get used to the device and decide if it's right for you. Check if there is a cost for the trial, some providers provide a trial at no cost others may include a fee for the time spent.
Think about future needs.
Ask whether the hearing aid you've chosen is capable of increased power so that it will still be useful if your hearing loss gets worse.
Check for a warranty and follow up costs.
Make sure the hearing aid includes a warranty that covers parts and labor for a specified period. Also ask how much follow up service and how many subsequent appointments are included with the hearing aid price package. If the package is not all inclusive then it is important to know how much future servicing will cost as hearing devices will require adjustments as your hearing and needs change over time.
Beware of misleading claims and keep expectations realistic.
Despite huge advancements in recent years, hearing aids do not provide better than normal hearing. They are capable of managing background noise but will not eliminate it all together as some may claim.
Plan for the expense.
Eligible pensioners and veterans may receive hearing services and a range of hearing aids with no out of pocket expense, or they can choose outside of the government range at a subsidised cost. If you do not qualify for government assistance the cost of hearing aids varies widely. Professional fees, remote controls and other hearing aid options may cost extra. Talk to your audiologist about your individual lifestyle needs and expectations.
Some private health insurance policies cover part or all of the cost of hearing aids — check your policy to be sure.
There you go, you now have all the information to give you the best start on your journey to better hearing and a positive first experience with hearing aids.
For more assistance or to book an obligation free appointment to discuss your options or needs please call HearClear Audiology on 1300 55 22 07