Getting new hearing aids? Some tips
- Have a complete hearing evaluation by an audiologist who is licensed in the state where he/she is practicing. Your audiologist may also dispense your hearing aid, or you may need to go to a hearing aid dispenser following an evaluation with the audiologist. Don’t buy your hearing aid from a magazine or TV ad.
- Buying hearing aids through catalogs or on the internet may at first seem like they will save you money, but a hearing aid, unlike that new toaster you purchased, needs to be customized to meet your needs, and has many facets that require follow up with a knowledgeable professional. Ongoing maintenance and adjustments are critical to the longevity and usefulness of the hearing aid and cannot be provided by your computer keyboard! You should expect to pay a fee for any visit you need with an audiologist after you buy a hearing aid on-line.
- When you decide to get a hearing aid, be sure your audiologist or dispenser can show you a range of products from different manufacturers.
- When selecting aids, focus on performance and how well you can understand speech rather than cosmetics. That said, many hearing aids today are available in a variety of colors and designs so you can choose decorative aids you may enjoy. Ask for them!
- Ask for the return policy in writing. Check to see what kind of orientation and follow-up is included in the price and care plan.
- Hearing aids take getting used to. They don’t fix or cure a hearing loss. Remember, your Aunt Tillie’s or favorite celebrity’s hearing loss and experiences with hearing aids are different from yours. The best hearing aid for you is the one that works best for you.
Explore assistive listening and alerting devices. There are many devices available at reasonable cost that can assist the hearing aid user in particular situations, easing stress and increasing your safety and communication ability.
What does an audiologist do?
An audiologist is a professional with a Masters or Doctorate degree in Audiology who is trained to evaluate your hearing and recommend hearing aids. Audiologists work in freestanding facilities like the Center for Hearing and Communication, speech and hearing departments of hospitals, in physician’s offices, university clinics, and in private practices. You can check with the American Academy of Audiology, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, or your state licensing board for a qualified audiologist in your area.