Hearing Aids

The Insider's Guide to Buying Hearing Aids

Purchasing a hearing aid is a big deal, both in terms of the difference it can make to your life and relationships, but also due to the investment you make in your preferred hearing device.

Despite the complex science behind your ear health and the technology required to restore hearing loss, people are not expected to have an in-depth knowledge of audiology services prior to their hearing assessment or hearing aid purchase. Consequently, when asked to select a hearing aid, most people have to trust their gut instinct and the little information they have at hand.

If you are considering the purchase of a hearing aid, it is important to understand:

Sometimes it’s not about the money

The qualification held by your audiologist, the quality of your hearing test and the degree of diagnostic testing conducted are just some of the factors you should consider when selecting a partner for your hearing health. These should take initial precedence over cost when considering a hearing aid provider.

Is it really free?

Given the investment you will make in your hearing aids, it is tempting to consider hearing companies that offer "free" services, from free hearing tests and trial periods to free after care and warranties.

In fact, your hearing aid provider should offer all the above services for free, as they are already provided to hearing companies by hearing aid manufacturers. For example, every pair of hearing aids already comes with a 90-day trial period, after care service and a four-year warranty.

Take time to understand the cost breakdown of your hearing aids and compare with other hearing companies. Bonus or free accessories are never truly without charge and are often bundled in with the cost of your hearing aid, leading to overly priced devices and unhappy customers.

Service considerations

When choosing a hearing health provider, people also think about how friendly the staff are, if the clinic is comfortable and whether it has a sound proof booth.

Without question, it is essential your hearing service offers these features to a high-quality standard.

Tip: The location of a hearing health provider in a GP surgery or clinic does not reflect their qualifications, clinical expertise or experience.

Customers should consider two key questions:

  1. Is it value for money? For example, customers should be familiar with the different hearing aid technologies and their benefits and features, and
  2. Is it a high-quality service? What is the expertise and experience of the hearing aid provider?

These two questions stand for other medical services and devices you might purchase in the same way.

Do qualifications matter?

Qualifications absolutely matter. After all, you will be paying for – and trusting - the expertise of your hearing health provider who will diagnose, prescribe and treat your hearing loss, and advise you on the hearing aid technology to suit your needs.

There are a number of different grades of audiologist and their qualification will give you an indication as to the level of knowledge and insight held by your hearing aid provider. It will also help you determine whether their fees are reasonable. For example, would you expect to pay more for a Doctor of Audiology or a provider with an online certificate? In this instance, you could expect the provider with the online certificate to charge less.

Tip: Ask your provider for their business card. Qualified audiologists will always write their degree and course title clearly next to their name, e.g. Jane Doe BSc. Audiology.

Consider the easy reference table below for information on audiology qualifications.

Education level

Course

Title in private sector

Title in public sector

Foundation course Hearing aid dispensing Hearing aid dispenser or Hearing aid Audiologist This course would not meet the requirements for employment in the HSE Audiology service.
BSc. Ordinary Audiology Audiologist Basic grade Audiologist
BSc. Honors Audiology Audiologist Basic grade Audiologist
MSc. Audiology Audiologist Staff grade Audiologist/clinical scientist
Phd or Dr Audiology Audiologist Clinical scientist/chief/ consultant

Sometimes it IS about the money

Your hearing aid is an investment in your hearing health, your relationships and your quality of life, so it pays to get it right. Equally, it is in your interests to understand the features of the various hearing aid makes and models and the technology that drives them. After all, how can you compare hearing aids if your knowledge of the device is limited to “top of the range” or "middle of the road"?

Tip: Ask your hearing aid provider for their business card and write the make and model of the hearing aid on the back. This makes it easy for you to compare against other makes and models and the prices offered by other hearing companies.

The Hearing Company recently helped a customer from Westport who had been offered the Phonak B90 top-of-the-range hearing aid for €6,500 by a local hearing company. For the same make and model, we saved our customer €3,000 – for the very same service and the same hearing aid technology but at vastly different prices.

Check our handy reference guide below for information about hearing aid manufacturers and their various makes and models, and visit DeafHear.ie for a helpful guide to buying a hearing aid.

Manufacturer

Model of Hearing aid (1st is top of the range)

Oticon

OPN1
OPN2
OPN3
Phonak

B90
B70
B50
B30
Widex

440
330
220
110
Resound

Link9
Link7
Link5

 

At The Hearing Company, we are passionate about helping people find lasting, effective solutions for hearing loss and ultimately enjoy optimum hearing health. We trust this guide to buying a hearing aid is a helpful resource for hearing aid users preparing to meet their hearing service provider and helps them to make more informed decisions about their hearing aid purchase.

Should you have further questions about buying a hearing aid or hearing technology, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a prompt and obligation-free discussion.

If this this information has been of benefit to you. Please feel free to contact us with any other questions you may have. We respond to all enquires promptly with no obligation.

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