When it’s time to shop for a car, the majority of us know exactly what to do. We complete some research, compare options, and compile a list of questions to ask the dealership. We work on this so that by the time we’re set 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 purchase hearing aids, in contrast, most people don’t know where to start. 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 every person’s hearing loss is distinct and each pair of hearing aids needs custom programming. If buying a car was like this, it would be like you bringing 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, properly programming the most appropriate hearing aids for your preferences and lifestyle. In this manner, compiling 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 up and running, broken down by category:
Specific types of hearing loss require specific kinds of treatment. The more you understand your own hearing loss, the better you’ll be able to compare hearing aid options. You want to understand what form of hearing loss you have, if it will get worse, how soon you should treat it, and all of your treatment choices.
Questions to ask:
- What form 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 get worse over the years if left untreated?
- Will hearing aids enhance my hearing?
- How much of my hearing will hearing aids repair?
- What are my other alternatives besides hearing aids?
HEARING AID STYLES AND FEATURES
Hearing aids are sold in several styles, from multiple producers, equipped with many 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 kinds of hearing aid styles do you offer?
- Which hearing aid style is ideal for my requirements and lifestyle?
- Which digital features would be invaluable 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 typically 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 price, if financing is obtainable, 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 provide any financing plans?
- Will my insurance coverage help pay for hearing aids?
- How much will my hearing aids cost me on a yearly basis?
- Do the hearing aids come with warranty coverage?
- How much do hearing aid repairs cost after the warranty has ended?
- Are repairs done 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 teach you how to care for, clean, and operate your hearing aids. To make sure that nothing is overlooked, see to it that all of these questions are answered:
Questions to ask:
- How do I operate my hearing aids?
- How do I use hearing aids with telephones and other electronics?
- 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 require a remote control, or can I use my smart-phone to control 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 application?
- Do I become eligible for future hearing aid upgrades?
YOU’RE READY TO SCHEDULE YOUR HEARING TEST
Ok, so shopping for a pair of hearing aids might not be as enjoyable as shopping for a new car. But the quality of life you’ll attain from better hearing might very well make you more happy, as you’ll reconnect with people and take pleasure in the subtleties of sound once again. So go ahead and schedule that hearing test — your new pair of hearing aids are waiting for a test drive.