Shopping for hearing aids is very different than shopping for glasses or most any other medical aid. With glasses, your eye doctor creates a prescription for your lenses. You can then have that exact prescription created in lenses ordered from their office or any other eyewear provider. The supplier you choose to order your eyewear from generally provides you a multitude of choices – several different brands, dozens of styles, and additional added features for your lenses. The selection is wide and varied. You won’t find this true with most hearing aid providers. There are several reasons behind this.
Hearing aid manufacturers work hard to control the market to their advantage. There’s nothing illegal or even unethical about trying to promote your products over those of your competitors. What many people don’t realize is the tactics being used by manufacturers, in collusion with insurers, can limit your selection of hearing aid devices.
When selecting a hearing aid provider, many consumers will automatically choose a provider from their health insurance’s approved provider list. Insurance companies don’t always choose approved providers based on the quality of care or the range of treatment options available, especially when it comes to hearing aids. Providers who limit their customers to devices made by one manufacturer (which can include multiple brand names) may get discounted pricing from the manufacturer, not available to competitors who offer devices from multiple manufacturers.
WHY BROAD HEARING AID SELECTION MATTERS
Hearing loss is extremely personalized. Sounds come to us with variations in pitch and volume. Your hearing loss may be at a totally different range than your neighbors. That’s why your hearing aids need to be adjusted to what works best for you, not just a standard setting. Different hearing aids work better for some hearing issues than others.
Generic medications are basically the same as their brand equivalent. Nevertheless, some people have different results from a brand name medication than they do from the generic form. The same is true with hearing aids developed from different manufacturers. What works fine for one person may not be the best choice for another.
CHOOSING AN INDEPENDENT HEARING AID PROVIDER
If your audiologist or hearing aid provider is under contract with a specific manufacturer, how can you be sure you are getting the best solution for your hearing needs? What is the value of gaining a greater range of hearing clarity, and being able to hear well in crowds as well as at home? We often seek second opinions from physicians and surgeons, so why not shop for the best care for your hearing needs?
Five QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CONSIDERING A HEARING AID PROVIDER
- Is the audiologist independent or do they work for a corporation?
- If they are corporate-owned, what is the corporation’s connection with hearing aid manufacturers?
- If the provider is suggested by your insurance company, is there a third-party payer connected to a specific manufacturer?
- Does the provider always recommend the same brand to all their patients? Often, people tell you they offer multiple brands, but, in practice, they only recommend one brand to their patients. Ask for customer references from people using different brands.
- Request a follow-up appointment for adjustments a week or so after purchase. You have 45-day-trial to decide if you want to keep your hearing aids or try something different. Don’t settle for something that you’ll be unhappy with down the road.
Hears to U, Audiology is an independent service provider. We recommend different brands for different needs and are not owned by any hearing aid manufacturer. Fitting our patients with the best device for their needs is our only motivation. We encourage you to come in and talk to us. Let us show you why our patients choose us for their hearing care.