Before making a large investment in your hearing health care, it is important that you consider the pros and cons of your purchasing plan. Discount plans oftentimes sound like the benefit you receive is equivalent to the level of technology that you need. This is not always true. Prior to any major purchase, it is important that you know what you are purchasing. Remember that while it may look like a duck and quack like a duck, it is not always a duck!
With a Discount Plan You May Receive
- Limited Selection – Some plans may require you to select from only one or two manufacturers. In this case, the provider is cutting the cost by purchasing the aids in bulk. While this is a great way to go for some persons, not every aid is appropriate for everyone and you may find yourself being over or under amplified thus further limiting the full benefit you could receive from hearing aids.
- Limited Follow-up Care – With may discount plans, the follow-up or office visits are generally provided at no charge for one year from date of purchase. The cost of subsequent visits after the first year may range from $25 to $75 per visit.
- No Personal Care – While illegal in some states, selling and purchasing hearing aids online has become a new mode of “bargain shopping”. Please be aware that when you purchase hearing aids online, once you receive them, you will need to secure a licensed audiologist to have them fit and programmed. Very often licensed practitioners WILL NOT handle an aid that has been purchased online due to the inability to guarantee the appropriate specifications and/or the internal components of the aids. If you are lucky enough to find someone who will provide hearing care to you, the cost for these services can be anywhere from $100 – $500.00. By the way, don’t forget the additional office visit charges in the event you would need adjustments after your initial fitting.
- Limited Technology – Many plans offer limited technology i.e. no telephone program, noise reduction, directional microphone, or speech enhancers for clarity.
- Limited Information – There are many hearing aid manufacturers and many hearing aid options available today. Your plan parameters may actually limit the options that can be discussed at your appointment therefore limiting your ability to make an informed decision.
- Limited Expectations – It is possible that working within the guidelines of your discount plan you will be sacrificing quality, customer service and your expectations of the hearing device.
At Your Local Audiologist You May Receive
- Unlimited Selection – Choose an audiology practice that is reputable and an Audiologist that is licensed in the field of hearing science and whom you feel comfortable entrusting your hearing healthcare. Private audiological practices unlike some department store hearing centers, are not restricted to a specific manufacturer or hearing devices and can therefore, work with you to provide the appropriate levels of hearing technology and style that would best meet your budget.
- Complete Hearing Health Care – Includes service for the life of the hearing aid. This includes office visits for cleaning, hearing aid checks, programming adjustments, minor in-office repairs, and batteries upon regular scheduled appointments at no additional cost.
- Appropriate Technology – Your Audiologist should offer a wide variety of hearing devices that meet the needs and budgets of each individual patient. This includes offering multiple levels of technology from quality manufacturers. Some devices available today feature Bluetooth enabled devices for wireless connectivity to T.V.’s, landline telephones, cell-phones, and iPod’s or MP3’s.
- Realistic Expectations – With the fitting of all hearing devices, there is an adaptation period that can last from 3-6 months. Choose an audiologist that work with you through this adaptation period without socking it to your pocketbook.
It is important to note that the information above is a generalized outline in regards to the differences between using a hearing aid discount plan, and purchasing a hearing device from your local audiologist. For more information regarding your hearing aid purchase, contact your local Doctor of Audiology.