When it’s time to purchase a car, most of us know exactly what to do. We complete some research, evaluate options, and compose a list of questions to ask the dealership. We do this so that by the time we’re ready to stop by the dealership, we have an idea of what we’re looking for and we know which questions to ask.
When it’s time to choose hearing aids, however, many people don’t know where to start. Although the process is similar to purchasing a car, it’s also in many ways more complicated (and probably not quite as fun). It’s more complicated because each 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 taking it home and having to install the transmission yourself.
Luckily, 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, accurately programming the most suitable hearing aids for your preferences and lifestyle. In this manner, putting together a list of questions to go over with your hearing specialist is the single most important thing you can do prior to 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 forms of treatment. The more you understand your own hearing loss, the better you’ll be able to compare hearing aid alternatives. You want to know what form of hearing loss you have, if it will get worse, how soon you should treat it, and all of your treatment alternatives.
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 the years if left untreated?
- Will hearing aids enhance my hearing?
- How much of my hearing will hearing aids return?
- What are my other alternatives besides hearing aids?
HEARING AID STYLES AND FEATURES
Hearing aids are offered in many styles, from many manufacturers, armed with numerous features. You need a methodical way to narrow down your choices to assure 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 types of hearing aid styles do you offer?
- Which hearing aid style is most advantageous for my requirements and lifestyle?
- Which digital features would be meaningful to me, and which could I do without having?
- 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 price of a pair of hearing aids frequently includes the professional fees associated with custom fitting and programming, along with several other services or accessories. You want to ensure that you understand what you’re receiving for the cost, if financing is provided, if insurance will help, what the warranty includes, 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 price of the hearing aids, including professional services?
- Do you supply any financing plans?
- Will my insurance coverage help pay for hearing aids?
- How much will my hearing aids cost me each year?
- Do the hearing aids have warranty coverage?
- How much do hearing aid repairs cost after the warranty has expired?
- Are repairs handled at the office or somewhere else?
- If my hearing aids have to be mailed out for repairs, are loaner hearing aids provided?
- 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 control your hearing aids. To make certain that nothing is forgotten, make sure 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 accessories?
- 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 smart phone 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 program?
- Do I become eligible for future hearing aid upgrades?
YOU’RE READY TO SCHEDULE YOUR HEARING TEST
Ok, so buying a pair of hearing aids may not be as enjoyable as purchasing a new car. But the quality of life you’ll obtain from better hearing might very well make you happier, as you’ll reconnect with people and appreciate the intricacies of sound once again. So go ahead and book that hearing test — your new pair of hearing aids are waiting for a test drive.