When it’s time to purchase a car, most of us know exactly what to do. We carry out some research, compare 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 purchase hearing aids, in contrast, most people don’t know where to get started. Although the process is comparable 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 distinct and each pair of hearing aids demands customized programming. If buying a car was like this, it would be like you taking it home and needing 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, properly programming the most appropriate hearing aids for your requirements and lifestyle. In this way, putting together a list of questions to talk about 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 off, broken down by category:
Specific forms of hearing loss require specific forms of treatment. The more you know about your own hearing loss, the better you’ll be able to sort through hearing aid alternatives. You want to consider 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 type of hearing loss do I have?
- Do I have unilateral or bilateral hearing loss?
- Can I have a copy of my hearing test?
- Will my hearing loss worsen as time goes by if left untreated?
- Will hearing aids improve 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 made in various styles, from several manufacturers, equipped with numerous features. You need a systematic way to narrow down your choices to be sure that you get the right 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 best for my requirements and lifestyle?
- Which digital features would be imperative 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 cost 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 make sure that you fully grasp what you’re getting for the cost, if financing is obtainable, if insurance will help, what the warranty covers, the duration 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 provide any financing plans?
- Will my insurance policy help pay for hearing aids?
- How much will my hearing aids cost me on an annual basis?
- Do the hearing aids come with warranty coverage?
- How much do hearing aid repairs cost after the warranty has expired?
- Are repairs done at the office or someplace else?
- If my hearing aids have to be shipped out for repairs, are loaner hearing aids supplied?
- 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 explain to you how to care for, clean, and control your hearing aids. To make sure that nothing is missed, 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 technology?
- 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 return for follow-up visits?
- How long will my hearing aids keep working?
- 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 purchasing a pair of hearing aids might not be as fun as picking out 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 appreciate the intricacies of sound once again. So go ahead and schedule that hearing test — your new pair of hearing aids are waiting for a test drive.