6 reasons why you shouldn’t buy your hearing aids online
There are a lot of traps and pitfalls to buying hearing aids online. Selling hearing aids online is an emerging trend in hearing health care. This trend only favors the broker and leave you the person wearing or needing hearing aids with unknown and unexpected costs long after the purchase. They certainly appear a lot cheaper than you were quoted at your local hearing service. Are hearing aids really a consumer device like phones or a toaster? The question needs to be asked “Is it worth the risk? “. I don’t believe it is the best thing for the consumer and here is why>
- How do you know which is the right hearing aid for you and your particular needs?
Determining the right hearing aids for your needs is a structured process which should take over an hour, usually an hour and half. During this consultation your hearing levels, your lifestyle needs, your individual ear shape and anatomy, your budget and your cosmetic concerns have to be taken into account.
- You may be only purchasing a product not a service.
You then have to seek and pay for additional services from an audiologist or audiometrist.. You will have to find a provider to even refit the ahearing devices to your needs, make adjustments as required and you must pay for every repair, part replacement and cleaning. As an Audiologist who wants you to live your best life with hearing loss, it may be difficult for me to solve the problem without you investing in indepth extra consultations
- The manufacturer warranty may be limited.
If you buy your hearing aids overseas you only get a 12 month Manufacturer warranty. All hearing aids from manufacturers in Australia come with a 3 year Manufacturer comprehensive warranty for the devices. Most online hearing aid prices do not include post purchase service maintenance. If post purchase warranty is included you have to post back to the online supplier for servicing.
- The expertise and experience of your hearing care professional, whether an audiologist or audiometrist plays an important part in determining how good the devices are for you.
Be aware of “Special Software’ or “Web Pages”. Some online providers promise “special software”, questionnaires or impressive looking web pages to help you find the best hearing aid, but a close examination shows them up as electronic smoke and mirrors. You can test this by printing out the first set of “results” then hitting the back button and completing the questionnaire again with a completely different set of responses – you’ll probably be offered the same hearing aids!
No simple computer algorithm can replace the years of training, insight, experience and continued professional training you’ll get from a face-to-face consultation with an experienced audiologist.
- Unverified Qualifications and Experience of the online business
Do they have qualifications and experience in hearing or are they just a broker. It’s easy to make an online hearing aid business appear larger than it is by using a virtual office to handle mailing and receptionist work, so when you buy your hearing aids online that impressive looking company you bought them from may simply vanish when you need them.
When you deal with a brick-and-mortar clinic there’s no doubt that you’re dealing with a substantial business with actual street addresses and actual people seeing you in real offices.
- Its Buyer Beware!
There are a lot of unscrupulous online businesses targeting vulnerable people out there. That money saving bargain may just turn out to be one of the most frustratingly expensive purchases you’ve ever made.
If you think you can’t afford hearing aids, there are many possibilities to get assistance. An experienced independent audiologist will help you make the right decision and provide you with options to meet your needs and budget.
This article was first published at hearingcareprofessionals.com.au.
Nolene Nielson is an experienced Brisbane Audiologist whose independent audiology practice is part of a new direction in hearing health care.