New user, very confused about the trial period for aids

I saw an audiologist and clinic owner yesterday. I already had a hearing test. He immediately steered me to Resound One, level 5 and to rechargeable. He popped one aid on me for about fifteen seconds, but I did not have a chance to examine it. He said they normally charged ten percent of the price if I returned the aids, but would only charge me $200. I said okay to trial it and was to be fitted next week. On arriving home, I looked this aid up on the internet and really dislike the shape of it. I have a lot of sensory issues and am concerned about how this will feel. I called back to the clinic and asked them to hold off on ordering until I had the chance to email questions. I will also have to get a new phone for this aid to work.

Is this the normal process for getting a an aid for someone who has never had one? I felt pretty rushed.

It is common, but it doesn’t have to be tolerated. Unfortunately there is a lot of pressure on clinics to sell hearing aids so high pressure techniques are often used. My only advice is to shop around and find a clinic you like and to develop resistance to being pressured. If you feel pressured, tell them you want to go home and think about it. Don’t know where you live, but if Costco is available, they have great hearing aids, great prices and are generally fairly pleasant to deal with.

You should try Costco if there is one nearby. They have a very good selection and a very liberal trial period.

This is really smart on your part. Hearing aids are very personal and you are the one paying and living with the aids. Taking your time getting the right aids for you is very important. Being pushed into a decision is flat wrong.

You have come to a great place to learn about your hearing loss and also about hearing aids. Learning will enable you to make a good decision about your hearing aid fitter and hearing aids.

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Thanks, MDB. No Costco here, about three hours away, which is too far as I also have vision issues. Limited number of clinics, too. The previous one where I had the hearing test is the biggest and followed up my test by handing me a price list and waving goodbye.

My understanding is I would pay in full for a trial pair, then return minus some $, wait for a refund, then do the same with another until I find the right one for me? How long does it usually take for refunds? Is this the state of affairs or am I missing something? Do many people find a great aid on the first try? I’m finding this rather over-whelming.

Some places offer free trials; some offer full refunds and some demand a significant fee for a return. There is no standard. You’ll need to clarify with each individual provider (ideally in writing and preferably before you commit any money. I think many people are satisfied with the first aid they try, but quite a few are not. From reading, it sounds like quite a few buy them and then let them sit in a drawer. 3 hrs is a long ways, but if money is an issue and you’re not finding any local hearing aid places that you’re hitting it off with, it still might be worthwhile considering Costco. Assuming you’re in US, you can get a great pair of hearing aids for $1400.

@Lyn2: Welcome to the Forum! I’m quoting @Raudrive (Rick) because he’s exactly right, and you’re a smart cookie for verifying what they’re trying to sell you on.

Be wary, and come here often. We’re all here to help one another, each in our own way …

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I agree!! Absolutely same emotion when I saw the audiologist brought up the hearing aid to my uncle. My uncle has hard time in speaking good English, so I guess it would be nice if the audiologist could be more patient. But the process just ended in such a seconds in comparison with what I have been learnt in Youtube before… :(. Don’t be beated up by impatient audiologist! You could always look for another hearing aid specialists to take care of you. I am new to hearing issues as well, so let’s be patient and learn more together in this community. I am so glad my friend receommended me this forum, it is super helpful for me, as a hearing rookie

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A lot of sleeze on both sides of this equation.
Many here have compared HA shopping to what often happens at car dealerships.
OTOH many here seem to abuse the “Trialing” and return policies that some offer.

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Interesting. I’m not sure how one would go about abusing this, since, at least in my case, the aids must be paid in full and a percentage forfeited if returned. The system seems pretty closed from where I sit. At the car dealership, I can take the car for a pretty lengthy test drive before paying, even overnight. With the aids, it seems I’m to buy them sight unseen.

Some providers offer free trials of a few weeks to a month. Some people try a lot of hearing aids before making a decision. At Costco, it is theoretically possible to keep exchanging hearing aids every six months. (Buy a pair. Return before 180 days is up. Buy another pair. Rinse and repeat.)

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Exchanging every six months without ever buying certainly seems as though it would be abuse. I can see legitimately wanting to try several aids, though. If I try even 2 or 3 before deciding, while paying in full before buying, that could add a lot to the price. I think what I wish I could do, is at least see and feel the devices before ordering.

The exchanging every six months at Costco requires buying them.

In Virginia, you are entitled to the full price of the hearing aid return, less any service provided. The law does not allow any type of “restocking” fee. The 10% you mention sounds like a restocking fee to me.

Check the hearing aid laws in your region.

§ 54.1-1505. Return of hearing aid by purchaser or lessee.

A. Within thirty days of the date of delivery, any purchaser or lessee of a hearing aid shall be entitled to return the hearing aid for any reason, provided such aid is returned in satisfactory condition. Such purchaser or lessee shall be entitled to a replacement or a refund of all charges paid, less a reasonable charge for medical, audiological, and hearing aid evaluation services provided by the hearing aid specialist.

B. The right of a purchaser or lessee to return a hearing aid and the charges to be imposed upon the return of such hearing aid, as provided in subsection A of this section, shall be explained and given in writing in at least ten-point, bold-faced type to such purchaser or lessee by the hearing aid specialist.

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Lyn2, you have received some excellent advice and information from people who know quite a lot.

All I can add is encouragement not to be pushed or bullied into purchasing a hearing aid “right now” without being comfortable that you know what you are getting. It is a relatively long-term commitment - too expensive to replace often - and directly impacts your quality of life.

I’m in the middle of trying a new aid. The order form mentioned the 10% return fee, but the seller said that was state law, and gave me a form that said the 10% fee was waived if I kept the aid for 45 days (trial period is 60 days) and gave them a chance to tune it so it worked well enough that I chose to keep it. Seemed fair to me.

Also, regarding “new phone” - I’m in the same spot, this new aid needs a phone with Android 10 or later in order to stream phone calls, but if I can hear the pone without streaming, that’s good enough for me. If I upgrade the phone the aid will stream to it.

Just popped in to briefly say to heed those who answered you. Having failed brevity I’ll just add that this Forum is great, the people here will help you out the best they can.

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Good for you calling to say STOP!

Buying hearing aids is - imo - very similar to buying a car. You go to an audiologist, who has contracted with (usually) 2 companies. So they offer those 2 brands. It is unlikely they offer every model offered by that manufacturer. One of those contracts is going to pay a higher commission than the other; so very often, that is the aid they push. If the person doesn’t like it, well, they have another one as backup, to offer. You go to a Toyota dealer and they talk to you about Toyota; they don’t have Chevy, Ford, Honda, etc.

Trial periods vary greatly. With some places it is as short as 2 weeks. With Costco, which seems to have the longest, it is 3 months. With some places you have to pay a small ‘restocking fee,’ so you do not get all your money back. The amount varies. With other places, you get all your money back - that is how Costco works. With a small few places, if you do not like the pair you trialed, you can switch to the other brand they carry, and get full credit; but you don’t get money back if you walk away.

Many audiologists offer REM fitting; a small few offer it for a fee. Costco offers it standard. Folks on this forum highly recommend you get REM fitting.

As I explained above, most audiologists work on commission. At Costco, they pay the fitters a salary. This is why their prices are much lower than anyplace else. I don’t know what you were quoted for those Resound pair, but at Costco you can buy a pair of good brand hearing aids for $1400 to $2500. That is for the PAIR. Costco typically carries 5 different brands, all well known. Their own label, Kirkland Signature (abbreviated KS on this forum) is currently the Phonak Marvel, with a few features turned off. (I may be out of date, especially as I have not yet read up on the new KS 10, someone on the forum can correct me).

As with buying a car, there are many features available, but not all brands all models offer all features. Investigating what features are out there and sorting out which ones you will use takes some time but helps you get the pair you will be happy with.

If it seems like I am pushing you to Costco, well. yes. The best deal, the best pricing, the better service. Costco (in USA) does not accept insurance. So if you have insurance, you need to factor that in as you decide where to go.

Ongoing, with hearing aids you will need domes, and batteries. Depending on the brand, make and model, you may have to replace wax guards every 3 to 4 weeks. Costco offers domes and wax guards free, and the pricing on their batteries can’t be beat.

So you get your hearing aids and head home. Now they are going to need adjusting. It takes some time for new users to get used to hearing again. Plus the aids need adjusting to fine tune them in to your specific hearing loss and lifestyle. Some places include a fixed number of adjustment visits. Costco has no limit. You may need programs set up - press a button and get the settings on the program for when you are (example) at the book club meeting at the local library. This can take a follow up visit or 2.

I get it, 3 hours one way is a lot and not easy to do. And most likely you are correct in saying that is not an option for you. So you make a list and start checking with the places near you. What are the terms of their trial period? How long is it? How much is your fee if you have to return the aids? How many adjustment visits are included in the purchase price? What do they charge for adjustment visits after that? How much do they charge for domes? If the brand includes wax guards, how much do they charge for those? Note you can find domes and wax guards online, and save money that way. And batteries you can pick up in many, many places.

Dr. Cliff has a series of videos on youtube which can be very helpful. Here is the one for first time hearing aid users, check his channel and watch a few of his vids: Hearing Aids For The First Time | Things You MUST Know! - YouTube

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The new KS 10 aids are based on the Phonak Paradise platform.

A lot of good advice in your post.

Jim

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Thank you! This is so helpful. I’ve been reading, watching videos, talking with a few people who have aids for the last year, but I just couldn’t put together the big picture.

I’ve become hyper-vigilant about medical care over the last ten years, due to various health conditions and difficult treatment experiences, both my own and those of family members. I now try to know every little detail before tackling a new one. Some of that is only possible with personal experience, but I am so glad I found this forum!

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While it is true that Costco will not file your insurance paperwork for you, they will provide you with all of the information needed for you to file a claim with your insurance company. Just check on your benefits for out of network providers.

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I just wanted to add that Costco offers remote service for some hearing aids via phone app. Obviously you have to go in person for the first few appointments, and my fitter told me that there are some things that cannot be done remotely. But it may be an option if you need minor adjustments.

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