Many people are eager to purchase hearing aids online rather than from an audiologist or hearing aid specialist. The internet provides advantageous reasons for purchasing online, lower prices, shipped to your home, and extremely private. There are a few things you should know before you consider buying your hearing aids online:
Class II Medical Devices (Hearing Aids) Vs. Personal Sound Amplifiers
More and more personal sound devices will be coming available on the market. They will range in price from $349 to $399. These devices are not a replacement for digital class II medical devices (hearing aids). Class II medical devices have to be dispensed by licensed professionals such as hearing aid specialists or audiologists.
Personal sound amplifiers can only be used with very mild hearing problems and will probably not fix all of the listening situations of those who try them. It is very difficult for personal sound amplifiers to be adjusted, and at the very best, they can only be adjusted very slightly to improve sound quality. They have to rely on a manual volume control. The class II medical devices do this automatically because they are much more advanced in controlling soft sounds and loud sounds in different environments.
Internet Hearing Aid Sales
More devices are being offered as replacement for traditional hearing aids. Just when digital hearing aids have finally made a great break-through in technology, these ads claim their products are just as good or even better for pennies on the dollar. This is not the case. Ads can stretch the facts to appeal to the consumer in order to increase sales.
Purchasing hearing aids on popular internet sites, including discounted sites, eBay and amazon can put you in a predicament that you are not ready to handle. A hearing aid purchase is an investment that is meant to be customized to your individual hearing loss and needs. An 800-phone line support number or email from an “online specialist” is not going to be able to tailor your hearing aid to meet your unique needs. The American Speech-Language Association mentions that setting hearing aids for your needs requires specific computer software that audiologists/dispensers may not have access to if the devices were bought online. For some online businesses, getting the hearing aid settings changed may only be possible by shipping the hearing aid back to the manufacturer repeatedly. To help with your adjustment to hearing aids, audiologists generally provide office visits, reprogramming, counseling, and support when you buy a hearing aid from them. Hearing aids purchased online will generally not include these services (www.asha.org, 2012). Moreover, if you would need to see a local specialist for service on the hearing aid, the costs to you will be a great deal more than if you had purchased locally to begin with. That being said, if may also be near impossible for you to find someone in your hometown that is willing to provide any service to hearing aids that were purchased over the internet. These are all key factors to keep in mind before making your decision.
Remember…If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! We don’t want you to waste even one dollar on unrealistic claims.
United Healthcare is providing hearing aids at a reduced price
It is not clear if these will be personal sound amplifiers or actual hearing aids. The cost of the devices will range between $749 and $950. These would be considered a low end product. A major problem with this practice is there is no local support system in place. There is a misconception that the insurance company will be able to provide good hearing health care, but they are actually providing a device through internet sales. Everything will be processed through the mail; therefore, optimal hearing health care is impossible to accomplish because every ear is different, every hearing loss is different, every lifestyle is different as well, all of which affect the type of hearing aid that is best for you.
Better Hearing Institute’s executive director commented that “state-of-the-art hearing aids should be programmed to the individual’s specific hearing loss requirements in order to provide good levels of benefit and customer satisfaction”. Today’s hearing aid fitting process requires a complete in-person hearing assessment in a sound booth, and the training and skills of a credentialed hearing health care professional in order to prescriptively fit the hearing aids using sophisticated computer programs. In addition, it is also necessary that a patient should have in-person follow-up appointments and counseling in order to achieve a proper fitting (www.hearingreview.com, 2012).