When it’s time to buy a car, the majority of us know exactly what to do. We do some research, evaluate 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 begin. Although the process is comparable to buying a car, it’s also in many ways more complex (and probably not quite as fun). It’s more complex because each person’s hearing loss is unique 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.
Fortunately, you don’t need to know how to program your own hearing aids, but you do need to know the questions to ask to ensure that your hearing specialist covers all bases, correctly programming the most appropriate hearing aids for your requirements and lifestyle. In this way, compiling a list of questions to go over with your hearing specialist is the single most important thing you can do before your hearing test.
But which questions should you ask? Here are 35 to get you started, broken down by category:
Specific forms of hearing loss require different forms of treatment. The more you know about your own hearing loss, the better you’ll be able to sort through hearing aid options. 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 options.
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 in the future if left untreated?
- Will hearing aids enhance my hearing?
- How much of my hearing will hearing aids regain?
- What are my other alternatives aside from hearing aids?
HEARING AID STYLES AND FEATURES
Hearing aids come in multiple styles, from various manufacturers, armed with numerous features. You need a methodical 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 needs and lifestyle?
- Which digital features would be meaningful 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 expense of a pair of hearing aids commonly includes the professional fees associated with custom fitting and programming, along with many other services or accessories. You want to make sure that you fully grasp 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 cost of the hearing aids, including professional services?
- Do you offer any financing plans?
- Will my insurance coverage help pay for hearing aids?
- How much will my hearing aids cost me per year?
- Do the hearing aids come with warranty coverage?
- How much do hearing aid repairs cost after the warranty has ended?
- Are repairs completed at the office or someplace else?
- If my hearing aids have to be shipped 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 explain to you how to care for, clean, and operate your hearing aids. To make certain that nothing is missed, 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 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 mobile 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 appointments?
- How long will my hearing aids continue 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
Okay, so buying a pair of hearing aids might not be as fun as shopping for a new car. But the quality of life you’ll attain 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 schedule that hearing test — your new pair of hearing aids are waiting for a test drive.