September 22 Meeting Wrap-Up
Long-time HLAA member Toni Barrient led us through “The Consumer’s Guide to Purchasing Hearing Aids.” The items she covered can also be applied to finding the best cochlear implant provider. Her talk was based on HLAA’s Consumer Checklist, which can be downloaded from https://www.hearingloss.org/wp-content/uploads/HLAA_Purchasing_HearingAid_Checklist.pdf?pdf=Checklist
Find a patient-centered hearing provider who will meet your needs. https://www.hearingtracker.com is like Yelp for checking out providers in your area. There are differences between audiologists (8 years of training) and hearing instrument dispenser (licensed to sell & fit hearing aids).
Also covered were
- Knowing what to expect at a first appointment
- The importance of an otoscopic inspection for ear wax (which should be done before a hearing test)
- Knowing what your audiogram means
- The merits of hearing aid telecoils (t-coils)
- Mail-order hearing aids
- Having the provider do a lifestyle history and auditory assessment; samples of the latter, http://soundskillsnz.businesscatalyst.com/Auditory%20Processing%20Disorder/Auditory_Processing_Assessment.html
- Medicare Advantage plans
- Accessories that work with hearing aids
- Hearing aid styles, https://www.starkey.com/improve-your-hearing/frequently-asked-questions/types-of-hearing-aids
- Provider should cover device instructions, warranties, care and cleaning, counseling and follow-up
Also see the separate post on this website about locked hearing aids.
Know your rights before purchasing a hearing aid. California law requires a minimum 45-day trial period. Hearing aids can be returned for a refund before the trial period ends. Ask for in-office demonstrations in different sound environments. Get a purchase agreement in writing; read before signing. Make sure the agreement and device are compatible with expectations.