Beware of Online Hearing Aids
No need to leave your couch – take a hearing test online and “discounted” hearing aids will be sent to your address! Sounds great, right? Although it is convenient, there are things to be weary of when purchasing hearing aids online. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
Hearing evaluations performed by a licensed audiologist are completed in a sound treated booth with calibrated equipment (including the headphones). When compared to a hearing test over the phone or online with non-calibrated headsets, the results may not be accurate. Hearing tests do not just involve headphones either, but also a piece of equipment called a “bone conduction oscillator”. This tests the permanent part of your hearing, called the cochlea, directly and helps us determine if a referral to an otolaryngologist (ENT) is recommended. Sometimes hearing loss can be medically treated or can be caused by a benign tumor. As audiologists, we make the appropriate recommendations to best diagnose and treat your individual case.
Furthermore, there are a variety of hearing aid styles – some of which may be appropriate for your hearing loss others of which are not. We take time to assess your needs and lifestyle to select the best hearing aid power and style for you.
Apart from the physical fit of the hearing aids, programming the devices is not a one-size fits all formula. As audiologists, we perform “real-ear verification”. This involves a small microphone that is placed in the ear canal with the hearing aid over top. By doing so, we can confirm that the settings in your hearing aid are fine tuned to your ear specifically. After purchasing hearing aids, follow-up appointments are recommended for the best outcome. With online hearing aids, the devices are simply programmed and sent to your address; any follow-up adjustments would come with an out of pocket expense and the necessary programming cables may not be available at all clinics. Lastly, hearing aids typically come with a warranty for both repair and loss/damage; however, if purchased on eBay or Amazon the warranty is often unknown. It is similar to purchasing a used car without any Carfax!
Fear not because there are audiologists who are out there ready to help you on your journey to hear better. Make sure you are receiving services from a licensed audiologist (Au.D. after their name), as they have completed 4 additional years of training for their doctorate degree. Please do not hesitate to contact one of our Doctors of Audiology at North Georgia Audiology if you have any further questions.