Buying hearing aids from an online provider can be an excellent choice if done properly. Cost is only one of the considerations. Also consider if remote support, sound adjustments, warranty and repairs are included.
If you are one of the 77 million baby boomers retiring over the next 20 years, you should have a reasonable expectation that your hearing has taken a beating. Our lives are noisier than ever. A lifetime of exposure to prolonged or loud noise causes hearing loss.
The bad news: Over 32 million people in North America suffer from hearing loss. Over 30 million of us are exposed to harmful noise on an almost daily basis. Nearly 40% of Americans with hearing loss are under the age of 65.
The good news: Today’s hearing aid technology is phenomenal and online hearing aid sales has lowered the price of hearing aids tremendously.
A report by the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology said: “Hearing aid use greatly improves adults’ health-related quality of life by reducing psychological, social and emotional effects of hearing loss — an insidious and potentially devastating chronic health condition.”
A National Institute on Aging study found that the greater the hearing loss, the higher the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Those who experience hearing loss are five times more likely to develop dementia than those with normal hearing.
Researcher, Frank Lin, M.D., explained it this way to AARP: “If you are out to dinner with friends at a busy restaurant and it’s very, very loud, by the time you get home you’re exhausted, because you spent so much time trying to think about the words people are saying, to decipher everything.”
Over six million Americans wear hearing aids. Unfortunately, 24 million of us with hearing loss DO NOT. One of the biggest hurdles to hearing aid ownership has been cost. The high cost of hearing aids has not necessarily been the cost of the devices themselves, but the way the dispensing and support services have been delivered. Traditionally, hearing aids have been purchased from a local hearing aid professional’s office, in what we call a “Medical Services Delivery System”. This is the same type of system that charges nine dollars for an aspirin, and twelve dollars for a bandage.
In the past, a hearing professional would make an impression of your ear and send the ear impression to a hearing aid manufacturer. The hearing aid manufacturer would produce a hearing aid for you and ship it back to the local dealers office. You would then go back to the hearing aid office the hearing aid would be “fit” to you. Further services, adjustments and re-adjustments require additional office visits.
It Doesn’t Need To Be That Way
Today’s digital hearing aids are easy to purchase, fit and adjust. They are extremely comfortable and are nearly invisible to others.
Buying A Hearing Aid Online
Shopping for hearing aids online is easy. It is easy to do an “apples to apples” comparison of features, benefits, and brands from multiple online retailers. Shopping online can save you up to 70%, which can amount to thousands of dollars in savings.
Online hearing aid sales is not new, the online direct to consumer hearing aid sales businesses model has been around for decades. In fact, some of us do an excellent job of it, in the main because we have developed a specific infrastructure to ensure the wearer’s success. Our infrastructure involves pre-programming the hearing aid prior to shipping to you, remote fitting, remote fine tuning, follow-up repair and support services.
Lower hearing aid prices drives most online hearing aid buying decisions and we understand that. Who doesn’t like to save a money? But there’re are things you need to consider when making an online hearing aid purchasing decision.
The Traditional Way of Buying A Hearing Aid
So what was the old process of buying a hearing aid? First, you have to find a local hearing aid dealer, and unfortunately, you usually just choose the one dealer who is closest to your residence or the one that has sent you most advertising junk mail, not really knowing much about their success rate or reputation. Then you make an appointment to go to their office for a hearing test and sales pitch. Based on the hearing test results, a recommendation is made as to the specific make and model of hearing aid. Usually, people go home and think about it, then go back and order. The process for the hearing aid professional is then to send the order into the manufacturer and within a couple of weeks, receive it back and call you to make an appointment for you to come back in to their office and be fit with your hearing aid purchase.
The Hearing Aid Fitting Appointment
Fitting a hearing aid is not just about putting them in your ears and turning them on. There is an initial fitting procedure, verifying your thresholds with in-situ audiometry (beeps and tones through the hearing aids) then setting the hearing aids to a proper acclimatization level. The rest of the delivery session is about showing you the hearing aids, the functions, how to change batteries and how to properly put them in your ears.
First Follow Up Appointment
After approximately 3 or 4 days of hearing aid wear, you should get in for a follow up appointment where you are assessed on how you are doing, many times the acclimatization level is increased.
Second Follow Up Appointment
About two weeks later, again you should get back into the office and things should be assessed again on your progress with your hearing aids and advise if further sound adjustments are necessary.
Future In-Office Appointments
All other in-office appointments are usually scheduled “as-needed”.
What You Need To Know When Buying Online
Before buying hearing aids online, you should get a hearing test from a local hearing professional. Typically, a local hearing professional will charge you for their services.
Getting an Audiogram
Your hearing test results will be presented to you in the form of an audiogram. An audiogram is a chart showing your hearing, frequency by frequency (low to high pitches) and intensity (quiet to loud).
Request a copy of your audiogram. Federal law requires that you be given copies of any and all medical records (including an audiogram). The hearing care professional is authorized to charge you a “reasonable” fee for copying.
Things you need to consider when buying hearing aids online, the first thing is that hearing aids are not like glasses, you don’t just put them on and everything is wonderful. It just simply doesn’t work that way. You will need proper care and attention to get the best out of your hearing aids for as long as you wear them. That average life of a hearing aid is about five to seven years. If you feel confident that your online hearing aid retailer can give you that care and service, then you’ve got a winner.
It has been my experience that to get along well with hearing aids, people generally need the ongoing involvement of a good hearing healthcare professional. HearSource.com provides that. We have said it here before, our worry about buying hearing aids online was that people may buy the hearing devices and then find it difficult to get professional support and aftercare. Many online sales companies are not really set up for remote aftercare and support. There are a few really important things you need to consider so you can make an educated choice before buying.
HearSource.com provides you with the guidance that you will need in selecting the right hearing aid for your lifestyle, hearing loss and budget. After your hearing aid purchase, HearSource will remotely program your hearing aids for you using your internet connected P.C. or laptop. HearSource has remote programmable, personal programmable (you can adjust your own hearing aids) and iPhone direct hearing aids.
What You Need To Think About When Buying A Hearing Aid Online
- Hearing aids aren’t glasses, they don’t just work, they WILL need future sound adjustments (We do it remotely)
- You will need ongoing aftercare and support (We provide excellent aftercare and support)
- Will someone make a recommendation on the best hearing aids for you? (We will)
- Will someone fit them for you? (HearSource.com pre-programs them prior to shipping to you and provides remote sounds adjustments)
- Does your online retailer have a repair lab (HearSource.com does)
Online Hearing Aid Purchasing Advice
What we are advising you is that you need to carefully consider all your options and make an informed hearing aid purchasing decision. We really would urge you to discuss it with a HearSource hearing professional before you do it at 1-800-416-2434 (9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday thru Friday, Eastern Time, USA).
You need to know that someone will actually take care of you before, during AND after you purchase hearing aids.