When it’s time to shop for a car, most of us know exactly what to do. We carry out some research, assess options, and compile a list of questions to ask the dealership. We do this so that by the time we’re ready to visit the dealership, we have an idea of what we’re looking for and we know which questions to ask.
When it’s time to buy hearing aids, on the other hand, many people don’t know where to start. While the process is comparable to purchasing a car, it’s also in many ways more complex (and probably not quite as fun). It’s more complicated because every person’s hearing loss is unique and each pair of hearing aids needs customized programming. If purchasing a car was like this, it would be like you bringing it home and needing to install the transmission yourself.
Thankfully, you don’t need to know how to program your own hearing aids, but you do need to know the questions to ask to make sure that your hearing specialist covers all bases, correctly programming the most suitable hearing aids for your requirements and lifestyle. In this manner, producing a list of questions to go over with your hearing specialist is the single most important thing you can do before your hearing test.
But which questions should you ask? Here are 35 to get you started, separated by category:
Specific kinds of hearing loss require specific types of treatment. The more you know about your own hearing loss, the better you’ll be able to evaluate hearing aid alternatives. You need to identify what form of hearing loss you have, if it will get worse, how soon you should treat it, and all of your treatment options.
Questions to ask:
- What kind of hearing loss do I have?
- Do I have unilateral or bilateral hearing loss?
- Can I have a copy of my audiogram?
- Will my hearing loss worsen over time if left untreated?
- Will hearing aids improve my hearing?
- How much of my hearing will hearing aids restore?
- What are my other choices besides hearing aids?
HEARING AID STYLES AND FEATURES
Hearing aids are sold in several styles, from many producers, armed with many features. You need a organized way to narrow down your choices to be sure that you get the most suitable hearing aid without wasting money on features you don’t need or want.
Questions to ask:
- How many different kinds of hearing aid styles do you offer?
- Which hearing aid style is most advantageous for my requirements and lifestyle?
- Which digital features would be beneficial to me, and which could I do without?
- What are telecoils and directional microphones and do I need them?
- Do I need Bluetooth compatible hearing aids?
- Do my hearing aids need to be professionally programmed?
- Do I need one or two hearing aids, and why?
HEARING AID PRICES, FINANCING, WARRANTIES, AND TRIAL PERIODS
The total expense of a pair of hearing aids typically includes the professional fees associated with custom fitting and programming, along with many other services or accessories. You want to ensure that you understand what you’re receiving for the cost, if financing is available, if insurance will help, what the warranty protects, the length of the trial period, and if any “restocking fees” apply to the end of the trial period.
Questions to ask:
- What is the total cost of the hearing aids, including professional services?
- Do you supply any financing plans?
- Will my insurance help pay for hearing aids?
- How much will my hearing aids cost me per year?
- Do the hearing aids have warranty coverage?
- How much do hearing aid repairs cost after the warranty has ended?
- Are repairs handled at the office or somewhere else?
- If my hearing aids have to be shipped out for repairs, are loaner hearing aids available?
- Is there a trial period and how long is it?
- Is there a restocking fee if I return my hearing aids during or after the trial period?
HEARING AID OPERATION, CARE, AND MAINTENANCE
Your hearing specialist should tell you how to care for, clean, and operate your hearing aids. To make certain that nothing is forgotten, see to it that all of these questions are addressed:
Questions to ask:
- How do I operate my hearing aids?
- How do I use hearing aids with telephones and other devices?
- Can you show me how to use all of the buttons, features, and settings for my hearing aids?
- What are environmental presets, and how do I access them?
- Do I need a remote control, or can I use my smartphone to operate the hearing aids?
- What batteries do I need, how long will they last, and how do I replace them?
- How should I clean and store my hearing aids?
- Do I need to come back for follow-up visits?
- How long will my hearing aids last?
- Do I need to update the hearing aid software?
- Do I become eligible for future hearing aid upgrades?
YOU’RE READY TO SCHEDULE YOUR HEARING TEST
Ok, so purchasing a pair of hearing aids might not be as fun as shopping for a new car. But the quality of life you’ll achieve from better hearing might very well make you more happy, as you’ll reconnect with people and enjoy the subtleties of sound once again. So go ahead and book that hearing test — your new pair of hearing aids are waiting for a test drive.