New member investigating

I am a new member and have been having hearing problems for several years. I am finally at the point of deciding to take the leap. I am trying to do some research before I get into the exams, etc. I would be interested in some input about a couple of things. I am always seeing ads (full page even) for lots of HA centers (Beltone, etc.) offering “free” 30-day trials for aids. I am wondering about these if they are quality places to go. I know Beltone is a very old company but why the advertising frenzy lately? I was referred to an otolaryngologist 3 1/2 years ago. He was just checking to make sure I had no physical problems causing hearing loss. He has an audiologist in his office also. They sell Seimens. It just seems like a “better” place to go. Any comments? Also I am reading a lot about the “real-ear” tests that one should insist on. Since I have such problems with noisy environments it seems a good idea. Should I expect a HA place to have these?

Also I am reading a lot about the “real-ear” tests that one should insist on.

Real Ear Tests can indeed be useful … BUT … they are NOT the Silver Bullet some like to believe.

I think a lot of places will give you 30 days or more free trial. That would probably be a good idea in that my MIL went through three before finally accepting an over the ear Siemens model. Before that she was trying to be vein and go with in the ear models. Not sure that the doctor is necessarily a better place. I had more pressure to go to a hearing aid at my doctor about 10 years ago (Virginia Mason Clinic in Seattle) than at Sonus this year. Sonus, I believe, has a 75 day return period.

Beltone has a habit of making claims, such as a 30 day trial, that are required by state law. Beltone also likes to imply that their aids are something special when they are really no different then other aids. In the State of Ohio a 30 day money back trial period is law. But Beltone runs those ads implying that they are giving you something others are not. Beltone also advertises free hearing tests, with no obligations. I wonder. I have over the years become just a tad leery about Beltone and their methods. I once ran into a Beltone audiologist at one of those job fairs that a city will occassional hold. He offered to clean my aids for free. As he continued to talk to me I said what to something. He replied “WHAT” and started laughing his head off. You can draw your own conclusions.

I know that costco offers 90 days, 100% back if you dont like them. Its hard to beat that. Plus, over 500 locations to get help if you are on the road.

For sure on a truly FREE trail period. It was 60 days when I purchased my America Hears aid. Beltone I do not remember but a local ENT gave 30 days BUT only a 90% refund. He was making money either way. I think he got the insurance company for about $250 for the exam/test but I needed that for the audiologist at AH’s.

It seems the quality of the programming may be more critical than the brand name.