Top 5 questions to ask your hearing aid provider before you buy your next set of hearing aids.
Buying your next set, or even your first set of hearing aids can be a stressful and daunting task. With the amount of hearing aids that are available on the market, combined with the amount of hearing aid providers available, information can get lost. To make things easier for you next hearing aid purchase, we have compiled 5 questions that you should ask your hearing aid provider. This will give you a greater understanding of what you are buying, while also giving you the peace of mind that you are buying the perfect hearing aid for your lifestyle.
How long is the warranty on the hearing aid I am purchasing?
Most hearing aids purchased in Australia will come with a 3-year warranty or 12-month International Warranty, however it pays to check.
It’s important to know that wax and moisture damage is technically NOT a warranty issue. Due to the very nature of how hearing aids need to be worn (part of the device needs to be in the ear canal) at some stage the hearing aid will be in need of repair from these issues.
There are many ways to help maintain your hearing aids to keep repair costs to a minimum –
- Clean your hearing aid and associated tubing, receivers, molds and/or domes daily
- Purchase an electronic hearing aid dryer kit, or a dehumidifier container and capsules to dry out the hearing device every night; particularly if you live in humid conditions. Be sure to leave the battery door open to help dry out the internal workings of the hearing aid and to remove the battery to avoid reducing the life of the battery (store the battery safely out of reach from children and pets).
Should I insure my hearing aids?
Yes! Depending on your house and contents insurance cover, you may need to individually list them. If you lose or damage them beyond repair you don’t want to be paying for new hearing aids. Also check that if one aid needs replacing, will the insurance cover the cost of one or two new hearing aids?
Many of the high level hearing devices today have binaural processing features which allow them to compare signals from both aids to give you the best noise reduction and speech enhancement and work in sync with each other. If you happen to lose or damage one aid after 3 or 4 years, you could probably get an identical replacement. However, if it was 6 or 7 years old there is a good chance that the hearing aid is no longer available and you will then be left with a mismatch in technology if the other aid isn’t replaced.
How long should my hearing aids last?
Great question. This is highly variable due to a number of things-
- How well you look after the device
- How “waxy” your ears get
- Your work environment and recreational life style
- The rate at which you hearing deteriorates
- Ear health
With the majority of hearing aids now having water resistant properties, hearing aids are now lasting longer than they had previously, particularly in humid environments. Most people start to think about upgrading their hearing aids around the 5-year mark as technology keeps improving.
Do you have a provider number and are you a member of an accredited body?
In order to provide indpenedent clinical services under the Australian Governments Office of Hearing Services program, practitioners need to have a provider number and be a current full member of an accredited body. In Australia, the accredited bodies are ASA (Audiological Society of Australia – for Audiologists), HAASA (Hearing Aid Audiometrist Society Australia – for Audiometrists) and AcAud (Australian College of Audiology – for both Audiometrists and Audiologists).
Those who have completed their initial training and have obtained the appropriate qualification must have a further 6 months to 2 years of experience (depending on the initial qualification type & the accredited body) working under supervision before they can apply, and sit for, full accreditation.
In order to maintain a full membership with these accredited bodies, a member must attend at least one recognized industry conference every 2 years and obtain a minimum amount of further educational points which can include attendance at industry workshops and product information sessions, online webinars, reading and taking of appropriate notes of industry related journals and whitepapers, supervision of students and associate members, and representation of members as a board member of one of the accredited bodies.
At this stage, there are no regulations to hold a provider number and provide services to a private client.
Do you get paid commission?
Many employers will pay their employees a commission on the hearing aid sales they make. Often the more advanced the hearing aids are, the high the commission rate paid.
Being paid a commission and/or bonus on sales is routine in many industries, so many would argue why should the hearing industry be any different?
There are hearing aid providers who do not pay their staff commission or bonuses on sales. Something to consider when you want to ensure that the hearing aids recommended and provided to you are purely based on your lifestyle needs, and not the clinician’s pay packet.