It’s no secret that untreated hearing loss can have a negative impact on quality of life. This is the unfortunate truth for more than 33 million Americans. It is also a sad reality that a large portion of those 33+ million people leave their condition untreated for the simple reason that they cannot afford hearing aids. Furthermore, since hearing aids for adults are generally not covered by health insurance or Medicare, most people are in the position of having to pay for hearing aids on their own. This serves to create another barrier in the buying process. In other words, the high cost of hearing aids is no secret either, but is it the truth or are affordable, online hearing aids a viable solution?
The good news is, it’s not true – hearing aids do NOT have to be expensive to help you hear better! And with each passing day, it becomes even less true. A 2015 report on hearing technology by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) suggested that deregulation of hearing aid sales would improve accessibility and significantly reduce prices. Now, two years later, the Food and Drug Administration recently announced it is adapting the PCAST recommendations so that basic hearing aids can be sold in the same manner as reading glasses.
Therefore, if all goes as expected, the reality of an affordable over-the-counter hearing aid solution without the FDA prescription requirement is right around the corner. In fact, it has already been introduced in the form of a bipartisan bill in the Senate. The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2016, introduced on Dec. 1, would make certain basic hearing aids available over the counter and at a far cheaper price than what a decent hearing aid costs today. Stay tuned for further developments.
Online Hearing Aids Are Already An Affordable Solution
While this bill is certainly a ray of hope for many people, the truth is that companies like Advanced Affordable Hearing have been providing people with quality, inexpensive online hearing aids to help them to hear better for many years. However, in part because of the way that hearing aids have traditionally been sold and the “not always patient first” messaging that local hearing centers and audiologists have delivered to their patients, there is still an aura of mistrust and feeling of “it’s too good to be true” surrounding online, affordable hearing aids.
While that skewed perception still exists and often influences people to mistakenly feel that cost is a definitive measure of hearing aid quality – the fact remains that thousands of people are buying hearing aids online, without involving professional hearing tests, pre-paid office visits and other factors that continue to artificially inflate hearing aid prices. And most importantly, they are able to hear just as well, and sometimes better than they did with expensive hearing aids. According to the PCAST report, when compared to the average cost of $2300 for one premium hearing aid, customer satisfaction is almost the same with basic and premium hearing aids, which means you don’t always get more by spending more.
The majority of today’s hearing aids (basic and premium) are equipped with digital sound processors, which means that most hearing aid models can treat most hearing losses. This helps take the mystery out of matching hearing aids models to specific hearing losses – as was necessary with older analog hearing aids. Now, instead of being limited to the only brand that your local provider carries, hearing aids from all manufactures are available online on the Internet. Therefore, it is very easy to take a simple self-evaluation of your hearing from the comfort of your home and then buy suitable hearing aids online at a fraction of what local hearing centers charge. With price and model comparisons, customer reviews, and libraries full of hearing related information easily accessible, the chances of finding a successful solution to your hearing problem is really just a quick Google search away? And it’s reliable and safer than you think.
Buying Hearing Aids Online ... Simple as 1, 2, 3
Finding new ways of solving old problems makes sense. When it comes to your hearing health, studies have shown that better hearing can often lead to improving your lifetime income, relationships, and overall health without breaking the bank.
Start the process by doing a self-evaluation of your hearing. Advanced Affordable Hearing offers this convenient Online Hearing Check to help get you started. In addition, many other websites today offer online hearing tests which work very well for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. This type of simple test will help establish some of the hearing challenges you may be experiencing and give you an idea of what your hearing loss is. Upon completion of the check, if a hearing loss is determined, it is generally recommended to take a hearing test that results in an audiogram, although it is not required. If you do choose to get a professional test (cost is usually less than $100), be sure that the healthcare provider you choose is willing to give you a copy of the hearing test results because it will be helpful in choosing the online hearing aid that might be most beneficial to you.
Hearing aids come in many sizes, styles, and technology levels so finding the right one can look like a big job. This is where knowing the type and severity of your hearing loss, as determined by the Online Hearing test or as shown on your audiogram, takes the guess work out of the process.
Common types of hearing loss include:
- High frequency hearing losses are the most common and are generally caused by noise damage and aging
- Flat hearing losses are more common in women than men
- Low frequency hearing losses are usually genetic
Severity levels of hearing loss:
- Mild – does not exceed 30dB
- Moderate – does not exceed 60dB
- Severe – From 60 – 80dB
- Profound – exceeds 80dB
The majority of digital sound processor equipped basic hearing aids available today are capable of treating all three types of hearing loss, and up to moderate levels of severity.
People with severe and profound hearing losses can also benefit from basic hearing aids but the selection is more limited. Look for Power and Super-Power hearing aids which are generally bigger, use larger batteries, and come equipped with onboard volume controls.
When buying basic hearing aids online, your success depends on the hearing aid provider as much as it does on the model of hearing aid you choose. Tips for choosing the right provider for you:
- Customer reviews. Though most local providers don’t bother with it, quality online hearing aid providers put time and effort into garnering authentic, favorable reviews. Be wary of sites without them.
- Customer service. Customer service and sales representatives should be able to answer specific questions about each hearing aid they sell.
- Money-back period. Most hearing aids are sold with a 30-day money back period giving you the opportunity to try the hearing aids at home and in the environments that you frequent in order to help determine whether your choice was the correct one. Make sure of the end-date for your trial period and any restocking fees that apply prior to the purchase.
- New, used, or refurbished. Determine the history of the actual hearing aid you’re interested in. Oftentimes refurbished hearing aids represent a great value opportunity to purchase a demonstration model that is in fine working order at a lower price.
- Hearing aids require maintenance. Quality online hearing aid providers do more than just fill orders. Look for sites with information about hearing loss, care and maintenance, and the products they sell including accessories such as tubes, domes, batteries and more.
At Advanced Affordable Hearing we know how important being able to hear well is. We ensure our customer service and sales staff are knowledgeable and can help maximize, and protect, the hearing you have.