When it’s time to purchase a car, most of us know exactly what to do. We carry out some research, assess options, and compose a list of questions to ask the dealership. We do this so that by the time we’re set to head to 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, many people don’t know where to get started. While 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 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 needing 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 suitable hearing aids for your requirements and lifestyle. In this way, putting together a list of questions to talk about 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 up and running, broken down by category:
Specific forms of hearing loss require different kinds of treatment. The more you know about your own hearing loss, the better you’ll be able to sort through hearing aid alternatives. You need to determine 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 kind of hearing loss do I have?
- Do I have unilateral or bilateral hearing loss?
- Can I have a copy of my audiogram?
- 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 return?
- What are my other alternatives other than hearing aids?
HEARING AID STYLES AND FEATURES
Hearing aids come in many styles, from multiple manufacturers, armed with many features. You need a systematic way to narrow down your choices to be sure that you get the most effective 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 most beneficial for my needs and lifestyle?
- Which digital features would be important 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 often includes the professional fees associated with custom fitting and programming, along with several other services or accessories. You want to ensure that you fully grasp what you’re receiving for the cost, if financing is obtainable, 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 supply any financing plans?
- Will my insurance 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 handled at the office or someplace else?
- If my hearing aids have to be mailed out for repairs, are loaner hearing aids supplied?
- 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 demonstrate to you how to care for, clean, and control your hearing aids. To make certain that nothing is overlooked, see to it that all of these questions are addressed:
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 require a remote control, or can I use my smartphone 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 visits?
- How long will my hearing aids keep working?
- Do I need to update the hearing aid software?
- Do I qualify for future hearing aid upgrades?
YOU’RE READY TO SCHEDULE YOUR HEARING TEST
Okay, so picking out a pair of hearing aids may not be as fun as buying a new car. But the quality of life you’ll achieve from better hearing might very well make you more happy, as you’ll reconnect with people and take joy in the subtleties of sound once again. So go ahead and book that hearing test — your new pair of hearing aids are waiting for a test drive.