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One of the questions most asked of hearing specialists is, “My hearing aid is broken or is not working as well as it used to – should I replace it with a new one, or have it repaired?” Provided with only that limited information, we have to answer truthfully, “Well, that depends.” The issue of whether to repair or replace depends on many factors, and the “ideal answer” is as individual as the people asking the question.

First, it must be noted that hearing aids – no matter how well-built they are and what their original price was – sometimes fail, or start to perform less than optimally. They function, after all, in an environment (your ear canals) that is inhospitable to them because it contains moisture and ear wax. Ear wax is normal and necessary because it guards the sensitive lining of the outer ear, but it can be tough on hearing aids; water that remains in the ears after showering or swimming can be even harder on them. Add to these 2 factors breakage (from inadvertently dropping the hearing aids on a hard surface) and natural wear and tear (as inner tubing or parts wear out), and you can safely bet that at some point your hearing aid will require either repair or replacement.

One of the things that should most influence your choice to “replace or repair” is whether you like your current hearing aids. If you do, or you have gotten used to the sound they deliver( as many users of older analog hearing aids do), it might make more sense to have them repaired than to upgrade them with newer digital aids which could produce a very different sound or wearing experience.

Cost is clearly another main thing to consider. While brand new aids might cost thousands, fixing your current hearing aids may be possible for a few hundred. Countering this, however, some people have insurance that will partly or fully cover the expense of new hearing aids, but which won’t pay for fixing them.

If you decide to pursue a repair, the next natural question is “Should I take them back to where I bought them?”While internet advertisers will try to position your hometown hearing professional as merely a middle-man, that’s not true. There are several benefits of staying nearby. Your local audiologist will be able to determine if repairs are truly necessary, might be able to make minor repairs on their own, or have relationships with local craftsmen that work on your brand of hearing aid so you’ll decrease the amount of time you are without it.If they do need to ship the hearing aid back to the manufacturer for extensive repairs, they’ll make the process easy for you and you might even get a better rate because they deal in bulk.

More options are open to those who decide to replace their existing hearing aids. You’ll want to be open to new styles and technology acknowledging that anything new takes some getting used to. More recent hearing aid models may have capabilities that you are interested in, and can be finely adjusted to suit your individual hearing needs. Ultimately, the “replace or repair” question cannot be answered by anyone other than you.