Hearing aids enable better communication and can make life easier and more enjoyable, but where you shop for your hearing aids is almost as important as what type of hearing aid you purchase. There are six important things to consider when weighing your options on where to buy.
• Service: Because big chain stores like Costco are balancing their time between multiple interests, they might not have a hearing aid specialist on staff or even a certified audiologist. Most audiologist offices are open every day of the workweek with various appointments to accommodate patients.
• Fittings: Hearing aids typically require several professional adjustments before they are aligned for an individual’s precise needs. Most audiologists not only have specialized training and years of education, but their offices have the sophisticated equipment necessary to make precise adjustments. This fitting process is often included in the price of a hearing aid when you buy from an audiologist.
• Repair: Service in Costco is often limited to certain days and patients who need service also have to contend with consumers in a noisy and often chaotic environment. Most audiologist offices are opened every day of the workweek and all offices exclusively cater to people with hearing loss usually in a more comfortable, relaxed setting.
• Price: Though there is a difference in initial price, in the long run frustration with ill-fitting hearing aids, inadequate testing, returns, outdated equipment, problems with service may end up costing the customer more.
• Choice: Big chain stores like Costco only deal with certain manufacturers and they tend to stock hearing aids whose technologies are a few years behind the choices available at an audiologist’s office. New advances in technology are happening every day, like THIS article on Science Daily that talks about developing microphones that mimic the ears of flies!
• Overall Hearing Health: Big chain stores like Costco are not the place to go for overall hearing health. They are selling hearing aids, and that means that other hearing issues might not be recognized or dealt with at the store.
Hearing aids are an important piece of health technology that needs to be properly fitted and fine tuned. Many manufacturers have issued warnings about purchasing hearing aids online. This Youtube video by Healthy Hearing talks about this very subject.
If you'd like more help finding an audiologist or ENT in your area, click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!