Are hearing aid providers worth the cost? Believe me, as a hearing impaired consumer, I have asked myself this question a thousand times. As you look around and see how the price of electronics drops rapidly as technology increases it’s a reasonable question to ask. If you have researched online much you have probably found, as I have, you can purchase hearing aids online for half the price as compared to what you have to pay an audiologist. What benefit do they provide that justifies the premium price we have to pay?
I’ll share with you my personal experience with this. A couple of years ago I was frustrated with the cost of hearing aids and took matters into my own hands. I visited my hearing care provider and had my hearing tested. It had not been tested in several years and I wanted to make sure my audiogram was up to date. I then shopped around online and found a pair of (receiver in the canal) RIC hearing aids for approximately $3,000 as compared to the $6,000 I had been quoted previously. I jumped at the purchase! They were pre-programmed to match my audiogram before they were shipped to me. Seemed pretty straight forward.
It had been about 5-6 years since I had last purchased aids. So I had forgotten about the number of visits it typically takes to fit an aid and tweak the programming. This can vary by person, but on average it will take about 3-6 visits to get them fitted and programmed properly. I received my shipment and excitedly put them on! Disappointment, the sound quality wasn’t that great and I couldn’t hear very well. My options were to ship them back to the other side of the country where they came from or go back to my local service provider. I chose the second option.
Needless to say, my audiologist was not too happy with me, because I had went somewhere else to buy my hearing aids. However, she agreed to fit them for me. After multiple unsuccessful visits I gave up and went to another service provider. Before it was all said and done I went to four different audiologists. What was the problem? I had purchased a type of hearing aid that was not suitable for my hearing loss. I had no idea when I made the purchase which type was best for me. No matter how many visits I made, they weren’t going to provide the quality of hearing I needed. So I struggled with these RIC hearing aids for a couple of years until I finally received insurance coverage through my employer. I was then able to get the proper type of hearing aid for my hearing loss and they were successfully fitted and programmed. It was a painful couple of years. So I would say, yes, hearing aid providers are worth the cost.
Photo credit: erikveland