Choosing to confront and intervene in hearing loss is a powerful first step toward reclaiming your life’s bright vitality. The great news is that if you’ve gotten this far, you’re well on your way towards an easier listening future.
But investing in hearing aids is much like purchasing a home: you hope to only move through such a transaction once or twice in your life. And that reality doesn’t leave much time to get comfortable with the process.
Here are a few helpful strategies to enact as you enter into the hearing aid marketplace.
They introduced the buddy system to us way back in our schoolyard days and its power never really fades. You can find profound comfort in simply having a friend or family member at your side while you investigate potential hearing aids.
They can also help by taking notes and providing back up as you list out pros and cons. A friend who knows you well can help remind you of your listening needs and lifestyle requirements. Best of all, they’ll lend you an extra ounce of courage just by sitting at your side.
Find a provider you trust
While we hope that you only go through the hearing aid purchase process a few times in your life, remember that audiologists do this work every day and have the wisdom that comes from it. Take the time to find an audiologist you trust so that you have confidence in the way they answer your questions and steer you toward potential solutions.
A vast majority of audiologists truly care about your hearing experience and their sole mission is to pair you with the best possible hearing aid solution. If you feel like you are being ignored in favor of someone making a sale, take your business elsewhere.
Do an honest lifestyle inventory
It helps to show up to hearing aid consultation appointments with some honest self-knowledge about what you’re looking for in a hearing loss solution. If you’re not great with learning new technology, don’t let yourself be seduced by the bells and whistles of the latest gadget.
But if you are someone who loves being an early adopter and diving into new tech, go for it! Don’t hide your enthusiasm behind practicality. The same goes for people who want a rich home theater experience versus people who are most likely to be kayaking at the weekend. Choose the arenas of life that mean the most to you and choose a hearing aid that supports those activities. You’ll be happiest knowing that what you are passionate about is getting the most attention.
Schedule a hearing exam
You can window shop for years before deciding to actually purchase those hearing aids. Instead of dipping a toe in the water for months and months, schedule a hearing exam for the near future.
This way, you’ll set a deadline for yourself to begin to act. And secondly, you’ll have more raw data about your hearing needs which will help guide your hearing aid selection.
Take them for a test drive
Hearing aids are a major investment for most people and just like buying a car, we want you to feel comfortable taking them for a test drive. Most audiologists can affix a disposable tip to a hearing aid and program it to your hearing loss pattern so that you are able to have a real-life experience of the model you are interested in.
Let yourself be patient with the process and take time to consider a few options, testing them against each other. Especially if this is your first hearing aid purchase, you may be surprised with what stands out as optimal versus what feels like a deal breaker.
Bulk up your toolbox with add-ons
Hearing aids can be a great first step to a more enhanced listening life. But there are all sorts of add-ons that might make your hearing aid unstoppable. Telecoils and directional microphones might take your hearing aids from great to amazing. Or, if you are a home theater or stereo buff, there are additional products that can be added to your repertoire for a more hifi experience.
Understand your warranty
Don’t leave money for repairs or cleanings on the table! The warranties for hearing aids differ between makers and models, so it’s important to get the skinny on exactly what is covered. Some warranties include free repairs or even cleanings that can help extend the lifetime of your hearing aids.
Dip a toe into support services
Many audiologists offer workshops or ongoing educational programs to help you get to know your hearing aids better. Take advantage of these opportunities! It will help you make the adjustment over to wearing hearing aids and provide practice in daily activities like cleaning and program switching, over to more advanced uses like bluetooth.
Hearing aids are a high ticket item that also carry a roomy markup. That means that your audiologist might have some wiggle room when it comes to pricing. Try to negotiate the price down a few percentage points in order to relieve the monetary burden just a bit.
Post-hearing aid testing
After you’ve chosen your new hearing aids, ask for a hearing re-test. Most audiologists offer a ‘real ear’ test to see how your hearing performs with the addition of your hearing loss solution. This way, you’ll have real data that confirms how much easier your listening life has become!