Before Buying Your First Hearing Aid
Gary needs a hearing aid but he can't spare any mistakes in choosing one. His health insurance won't cover it because they say though it would definitely improve the quality of his life it doesn't hurt his health if he doesn't have it.
Yeah, right. 'I bet the ones who make that rule don't have any problem with their hearing', said Gary grumpily. Since he can't do a thing about the insurance thing, Gary put that problem aside and focuses on his effort getting the right hearing aid the first time.
A friend of Gary said that he should go to an audiologist to find out which hearing aid is best for him. But Gary, who is now feeling reluctant to spend even more money, said no. Instead, he browses around the internet reading reviews for all kinds of hearing aid and making comparisons. After a while he decided to buy from an local store which sells hearing aid for a good price.
Can you relate to Gary's experience?
What Gary did was actually a bad example. The first and most important thing anyone must do before buying a hearing aid is go see an audiologist first! Even if you have read hundreds of reviews about a certain brand/model of hearing aid and asked questions to all kinds of people who wear it you still need to see an audiologist or hearing instrument specialist. An audiologist is the best person for you to consult when you try to choose hearing aids that will specifically fit your needs.
You have to find a hearing professional that knows exactly what he is talking about and has help plenty of hearing impaired people to find and fit the perfect hearing aids. Make sure that the hearing professional is the one who tests you too.
Some centers allow technicians to test, and then the 'professional' comes in to interpret the results. This is intolerable. This means that the 'professional' is either too lazy to test your hearing personally or thinks that he is too important to do the test for you. Any good hearing professional will test you themselves instead of delegate it to someone else.
Personally I would only buy a hearing aid from a professional who provided an excellent explanation of the problem and then fitted me with a real digital hearing aid as part of the consultation. Someone who makes sure that all hearing impaired patients get the chance to hear a real hearing aid system before i leave his office. Any professional that doesn't do this does not deserve the title 'professional' and I would not trust them nor waste my time with them.
Now, when you have found the right hearing professional be sure to ask whether you can get a free trial period with no cancellation fee. This is just in case you are not happy with the result. The trial period should be at least one month (30 days). And make sure that it's written on paper!
Lastly, which brands should you go for?
If you want to be safe just go with reputable brands such as Starkey, Phonak, ReSound, Oticon or Widex. It doesn't mean smaller brands are bad. It's just that hearing aids can cost hundreds even thousands of dollars. Way too expensive to make a bad choice. Of course, your audiologist knows better. So if he recommends some unknown brand there's a high chance he recommend it for a good reason. It is then up to you to decide if you believe him and that his recommendation based solely on your own interest.
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