When it’s time to shop for a car, most of us know exactly what to do. We complete some research, assess options, and compose a list of questions to ask the dealership. We work on this so that by the time we’re ready to stop by the dealership, we have an idea of what we’re looking for and we know which questions to ask.
When it’s time to choose hearing aids, in contrast, many people don’t know where to start. Even though the process is comparable to purchasing a car, it’s also in many ways more complicated (and probably not quite as fun). It’s more complex because each individual’s hearing loss is distinct and each pair of hearing aids needs custom programming. If purchasing a car was like this, it would be like you taking it home and having 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 make sure that your hearing specialist covers all bases, accurately programming the most appropriate hearing aids for your needs and lifestyle. In this way, putting together a list of questions to go over with your hearing specialist is the single most important thing you can do prior to your hearing test.
But which questions should you ask? Here are 35 to get you started, broken down by category:
Different kinds of hearing loss require different types of treatment. The more you know about your own hearing loss, the better you’ll be able to assess hearing aid options. You want to understand what form 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 get worse in the future if left untreated?
- Will hearing aids enhance my hearing?
- How much of my hearing will hearing aids return?
- What are my other alternatives aside from hearing aids?
HEARING AID STYLES AND FEATURES
Hearing aids are offered in various styles, from many producers, armed with numerous features. You need a methodical way to narrow down your choices to be sure that you get the proper hearing aid without spending money on features you don’t need or want.
Questions to ask:
- How many different types of hearing aid styles do you offer?
- Which hearing aid style is most advantageous for my requirements and lifestyle?
- Which digital features would be invaluable to me, and which could I do without having?
- 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 fully grasp what you’re getting for the cost, if financing is available, if insurance will help, what the warranty includes, the length 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 offer any financing plans?
- Will my insurance policy 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 concluded?
- Are repairs done at the office or somewhere else?
- If my hearing aids have to be shipped 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 show you how to care for, clean, and control your hearing aids. To be sure 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 electronics?
- 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 smartphone 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 come back for follow-up appointments?
- How long will my hearing aids keep working?
- Do I need to update the hearing aid software program?
- Do I qualify for future hearing aid upgrades?
YOU’RE READY TO SCHEDULE YOUR HEARING TEST
Ok, so picking out a pair of hearing aids may not be as enjoyable as purchasing a new car. But the quality of life you’ll obtain from better hearing might very well make you more happy, as you’ll reconnect with people and appreciate the subtleties of sound once again. So go ahead and book that hearing test — your new pair of hearing aids are waiting for a test drive.