What is the best way to evaluate the merits of the different hearing aides?

Question by paul y: What is the best way to evaluate the merits of the different hearing aides?
Every three years i am given one thousand dollars to buy aides..but my old ones are still working.. the sales people always try to have me buy an expensive hearing aides..my ENT doctor told me there was little or no change in my hearing and that all i would end up with a drawer full of aides..is there a place that I can go that don’t have a vested interest in selling me something i don;t need…these sales people are very high pressure and insulting me if i don’t buy their overpriced hearing aides.

Best answer:

Answer by Mandy R
I used to dispense hearing aids. The hearing aid companies generally say that the life of a hearing aid is 3-5 years. And indeed, you’ll be able to renew your warranty for a year or two, depending on the company, but when aids get to a certain age (usually 3 years), the companies won’t allow you to renew the warranty. With new technology and new research that is coming out all the time, the companies keep trying to improve upon hearing aids. That’s not to say that your aids aren’t working as they are. You just may find as they get older, that the times they do go out, they may become more and more expensive to repair and as they age, because of general wear and tear, wax, moisture, etc., they tend to seem to break down more and more often. Also, the newer, digital technology can better deal with noisy environments and are more easily adjustable when your hearing does change. They can really be tailored to your audiogram.

My suggestion would be to find a place where you have the oppurtunity to trial the aids for a period of time before committing to them fully. The place I used to work, we had a 30 day trial period, in which time we’d make any adjustments we needed to, have followups, and the patient could acclimate to the aids in different sound environments. Go to a place where you can listen to how the different aids sound upfront – different companies, while they do the same thing, sound different. I’d definitely recommend digital technology – Oticon, Resound, Siemens, Phonak are some good names and while they have top-of-the-line digital aids, they also have excellent reasonably priced aids as well. I used to sell tons of the lower end digitals from these companies and they worked beautifully for people.

Too, go to a clinical audiologist rather than a hearing aid store. Audiologists go to school to learn all about the mechanics of hearing and can work to closely fit you with exactly what you need. And the emphasis is placed more on your hearing, less on the sale. At least, that’s the way it should be. Good luck!

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