Hearing aid advice for first time buyer

I am in my early 50s and have been having hearing loss over the last 10 years. Till now I have been avoiding wearing a hearing aid for various reasons, mostly for fear of embarrassment.

Now I have atlast decided that I need a hearing aid. So am wondering if I could get some advice how to go about it? Do I walk into the nearest hearing aid center and get myself tested or should I go to any specific place.

Also any other advice regarding hearing aids selection for first timers is most welcome.

Also how good is audibel? (there are no out-of-pocket expenses with my health plan). What questions should I be asking beforehand to choose the right audiologist? Hearingplanet has a good website. Are their other services as good? You may not be able to post certain comments directly here regarding some companies, so feel free to send me an email. Thank you in advance.

I think taking the first step toward hearing better with hearing aids is a hard step for many, as hearing loss is often associated with aging. Yet, more and more, hearing losses occur often from noise, even at very young ages.

As with any professional you deal with, you want to work with someone who is well regarded in the community, has a good reputation and you feel comfortable working with. Just because one manufacturer’s line has 100% coverage doesn’t always mean it is the right choice for you.

Thus you want a professional that you can really talk to and frankly ask questions.

Ruscy, lots of patients fear getting hearing aids for the first time. Let’s face it, who wants to? But the reality is the longer you wait, the harder it will be to resolve this problem. The brain gets very used to poor hearing, and re-educating it to accept amplified sound becomes a harder and harder job the older you get. So the sooner you tackle the problem the better off you are likely to be.

You talked about embarrassment. Let’s me tell you, modern hearing aids are not what your grandfather used to wear! They are discrete and highly effective at discriminating in most situations. Most people won’t even notice you wearing them, much less than you saying, “Huh?” all the time.

If you go and see a good hearing professional, the entire consultation should last 1-2 hours. Therefore you can’t just walk in and have a test, you need to make an appointment.

I would get two or three tests, since they are generally completely free, and see who appears to know their stuff more. Call a few hearing centers and ask them about the hearing professional. How long has he/she been qualified? Do you get a trial period? Is there a return fee if you don’t like your aids? Will you get a chance to listen to some real hearing aids after the tests? This is a biggie, if they don’t offer this service, run away! Only a lazy or incompetent hearing ‘professional’ would not bother to do this as part of the consultation. Unless there is some highly unusual reason why he could not.

I personally work for Audibel. They are a great network. Their aids are made by Starkey, one of the largest hearing aid companies in the world. They are also all American, if buying American is important to you. Many of the other brands are European. Not that that is a bad thing. But I genuinely believe that none of the European companies make a better aid than Audibel. Although some may be similar. I do like ReSound, Oticon, and Widex.

So get yourself booked in to some no obligation free tests and see what they say. Then post about your experiences, along with any questions you have, here on this forum. Then make a decision. Keep in mind that pretty much any hearing professional will give you a 45 day free trial with no return fee if they are pressured enough. Most hearing professionals get some kind of bonus based on the sales in their office, so it is in their interest to make a ‘sale’ and make you happy. There is room for negotiation.

Good luck!

If you live anywhere near Tennessee, I’d be happy to test you myself.