The Ethics of Buying HA--The Orphaned HA

Most audiologists sell bundled services–aids, programming, and maintenance. I suspect that top of the line HA, that often sell for $6,000-7,000, cost the audiologist 1/3 that, maybe 40%. The rest is for service etc. Say they are of high integrity and decency, so they do not steer you to more expensive than you need. Still, ~ $4,000 is on the table after you have received your aids. They have overhead and deserve a decent hourly fee.

Unbundled, one might purchase the aids for say $2500-3000, from somewhere. But most audiologists will only work on HA they provided. And they sell bundled HA. There’s room for practices that encourage users of orphaned HA (bought wherever, maybe used, maybe the audiologist practice is closed, maybe you have moved…), and presumably they will charge by the hour or the visit.

Some audiologists will take on the orphaned HA, but many won’t. House here in LA won’t.

You should be able to find somebody in LA that will take you on. Here in Portland, OR (a much smaller market) I had no problem finding an audiologist to work with me on aids I bought elsewhere.


I’m in Florida. I have a hell of a time even getting timely, knowledgeable service on the Resound aids I bought from the local audiologist after the sale. The audiologists in my immediate area have service analogous to a pawn shop or new car dealer. A lot of fancy uninformed talk and little action of substance.

If you’re a DIY inclined person, you can find HAs for much cheaper on eBay and just do your own programming. You won’t be able to get REM done, though, which is a drawback. But that’s not the end of the world. Maybe you can do in-situ audiometry instead if it’s available on that brand/model. It’s not REM, but at least it’s better than nothing. And you can always fine-tune on your own if you find deficiencies that might have been caught and corrected with REM.

I’d rather go the DIY route with a pair of HAs that I can find for much less money and live with the non-REM trade-off and simply try to fine-tune it to compensate. After my not so stellar previous experiences with Costco HIS and audis, and having gone through the DIY route, DIY is the path I’m going to take next time I need new HAs. In fact, I’ve gone this DIY route on a pair of OPN bought on eBay for my brother (I programmed it for him). I’m currently on OPN 1s and when they start failing, hopefully the OPN S’s will become cheap enough and more available on eBay for me to migrate to.


REM has the advantage of giving good fit in 30 min.
Which is why it’s really useful for fitter offices, and you as a customer when you want to trial aids. So you spend next few visits on tweaking the options/features (eg noise cancelling) instead of still trying to get the speech comprehension.

And fitters who don’t do REMs are inclined to charge you more for their service in that bundle, since they spend endless hours on that. Someone has to pay for that.

Educated DIY, taking notes, giving yourself time to adapt and test new settings will take time.
In theory it definitely should be able to lead you to same result. Takes time. A lot. Especially with complicated losses. But if you have time, it’s worth it.

However, DIY approach for trialling aids (eg common service offered, except they just guess, you have no much say in adjustments) is at least for me, insanely ineffective, energy draining, time consuming and expensive.

For buying new aids and trialling several models/manufacturers, invest time in finding REM based fitter.
It’s still worth finding one if you have aids already and you want that someone else do the work.

Here in Berlin, my fitter will fit any aid (not stolen ones :rofl:), he has hourly rate and that’s it. I was told by lady who does counselling that they as a association get aids from relatives of deceased people and they cannot forward them since no one offers such service eg she didn’t know about my fitter, and she knows a lot about service offered here. Now those people will have proper option :slight_smile:

But yes, I find it really evil that they mostly refuse to work with aids not bought at their place.

It didn’t work for me. The REM fit was very uncomfortable. I couldn’t wear the aids programmed that way. I now do self programming and still haven’t found a combination of settings that I can wear. No audiologist has been able to either. I agree with the idea of buying used aids off eBay and self programming. There might be some instances where it doesn’t work, but having the ability to do changes as often as you like is worth a lot. You do have to educate yourself on the software and know how certain settings affect your perception of how well the aids work. Some people just don’t want to have to fool with it and prefer to have a professional do it, which is also fine.


Dr cliff also cannot help himself (he has cookie type on one ear only). And we can all agree that he has both knowledge and equipment to do so.

However in your case, you said that you got some benefits of frequency lowering, no? They don’t use same rem fitting algorithms, I think @MDB found proper ones. So maybe if you find someone who is willing to dig into the topic and has the equipment would be worth a shot.

I know that you hate rem, but I think you definitely found bad fitter, since they didn’t want to listen to your feedback.

But it’s also possible that you have that bad, unaidable type of loss :frowning:

Did you manage to find someone else? I remember seeing you write about that idea some time ago?

The Op makes a lot of statements, some of which are probably true for some audiologist but not for all. Other than that I’m not sure what his or her point is.

Point is that it should not be that scarce that you can come and pay for fitting for aids they are familiar with but they didn’t sell you the exact piece.

Basically we cannot move to another area and we have to be dependent on that one place? Basically it comes to that, and that is IMO pure evil.

No one said ‘free fitting’ btw, just to be clear about that.

And it is true for a lot of fitters. Not all, luckily, it’s just that numbers who do that is so huge, that rant is emotionally justified :smiley:

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I understand what you’re saying. Fortunately I’ve never run into that problem. I might consider contacting the hearing aid company and maybe they could direct you to an audiologist who could help you

When I was still running my old office, I had a flat fee I charged for hearing aids not fit by me. For the flat fee, I assumed full care, maintenance and and programming of the hearing aid. I know there were many other providers that did the same thing.