When it’s time to buy a car, the majority of us know exactly what to do. We do some research, assess options, and compose a list of questions to ask the dealership. We do this so that by the time we’re ready to head to the dealership, we have an idea of what we’re looking for and we know which questions to ask.
When it’s time to buy hearing aids, in contrast, many people don’t know where to begin. Although the process is similar to purchasing a car, it’s also in many ways more complex (and probably not quite as fun). It’s more complex because every individual’s hearing loss is distinct and each pair of hearing aids demands custom programming. If purchasing a car was like this, it would be like you taking it home and needing to install the transmission yourself.
Fortunately, you don’t need to know how to program your own hearing aids, but you do need to know the questions to ask to ensure that your hearing specialist covers all bases, accurately programming the most appropriate hearing aids for your preferences and lifestyle. In this manner, compiling a list of questions to go over with your hearing specialist is the single most important thing you can do before your hearing test.
But which questions should you ask? Here are 35 to get you started off, broken down by category:
Different kinds of hearing loss require specific types of treatment. The more you know about your own hearing loss, the better you’ll be able to compare hearing aid options. You need to know what type of hearing loss you have, if it will get worse, how soon you should treat it, and all of your treatment options.
Questions to ask:
- What form of hearing loss do I have?
- Do I have unilateral or bilateral hearing loss?
- Can I have a copy of my audiogram?
- Will my hearing loss worsen over time if left untreated?
- Will hearing aids enhance my hearing?
- How much of my hearing will hearing aids restore?
- What are my other options besides hearing aids?
HEARING AID STYLES AND FEATURES
Hearing aids are sold in several styles, from several producers, loaded with numerous features. You need a methodical way to narrow down your choices to be sure that you get the correct hearing aid without wasting money on features you don’t need or want.
Questions to ask:
- How many different kinds of hearing aid styles do you offer?
- Which hearing aid style is most effective for my needs and lifestyle?
- Which digital features would be invaluable to me, and which could I do without?
- What are telecoils and directional microphones and do I need them?
- Do I need Bluetooth compatible hearing aids?
- Do my hearing aids need to be professionally programmed?
- Do I need one or two hearing aids, and why?
HEARING AID PRICES, FINANCING, WARRANTIES, AND TRIAL PERIODS
The total cost of a pair of hearing aids frequently includes the professional fees associated with custom fitting and programming, along with several other services or accessories. You want to ensure that you understand what you’re receiving for the price, if financing is provided, if insurance will help, what the warranty includes, the duration of the trial period, and if any “restocking fees” apply to the end of the trial period.
Questions to ask:
- What is the total cost of the hearing aids, including professional services?
- Do you supply any financing plans?
- Will my insurance coverage help pay for hearing aids?
- How much will my hearing aids cost me per year?
- Do the hearing aids come with warranty coverage?
- How much do hearing aid repairs cost after the warranty has expired?
- Are repairs done at the office or someplace else?
- If my hearing aids have to be sent out for repairs, are loaner hearing aids supplied?
- Is there a trial period and how long is it?
- Is there a restocking fee if I return my hearing aids during or after the trial period?
HEARING AID OPERATION, CARE, AND MAINTENANCE
Your hearing specialist should teach you how to care for, clean, and operate your hearing aids. To make certain that nothing is missed, make sure all of these questions are answered:
Questions to ask:
- How do I operate my hearing aids?
- How do I use hearing aids with telephones and other technology?
- Can you show me how to use all of the buttons, features, and settings for my hearing aids?
- What are environmental presets, and how do I access them?
- Do I require a remote control, or can I use my mobile phone to control the hearing aids?
- What batteries do I need, how long will they last, and how do I replace them?
- How should I clean and store my hearing aids?
- Do I need to return for follow-up appointments?
- How long will my hearing aids keep working?
- Do I need to update the hearing aid software?
- Do I qualify for future hearing aid upgrades?
YOU’RE READY TO SCHEDULE YOUR HEARING TEST
Okay, so picking out a pair of hearing aids might not be as enjoyable as buying a new car. But the quality of life you’ll obtain from better hearing might very well make you happier, as you’ll reconnect with people and enjoy the subtleties of sound once again. So go ahead and schedule that hearing test — your new pair of hearing aids are waiting for a test drive.