Buying Hearing Aids online
It’s now possible to buy hearing aids online. You can do your research and order your device through the website. But how does this process work and how do you get your hearing aid fitted?
Hearing Choices process
Hearing Choices offer an online hearing aid purchasing service. The process offers a number of features:
- You can investigate a wide range of hearing aids by the world’s most popular hearing aid manufacturers. Hearing Choices can offer up to a 40% saving on your hearing aid purchase compared to other clinics.
- You can discuss your selection of hearing aids with Hearing Choices experts and gain some guidance on your choice. The consultation is free and without obligation to buy. The Hearing Choice hearing aid expert will support you in finding the best hearing aid for your lifestyle and budget. This discussion can be via an online chat or over the phone.
- Hearing Choices is an independent company, so can give unbiased advice regarding the features of each hearing aid.
- Once you have decided on a hearing aid, Hearing Choices will locate one of their partner Hearing Clinics and arrange your hearing test (if you haven’t already had one) and your hearing aid fitting appointment with a Hearing Healthcare Professional (HHP). The clinic will be conveniently located for you.
- You purchase your hearing aid through Hearing Choices and they ensure it’s ready for your fitting appointment with the HHP.
- Hearing Choices hearing aids come with a 45-day no obligation trial period. If you are not 100% satisfied with your hearing aid you can return it for a full refund.
- You will also get after-fitting ongoing support not only with your HHP but also with Hearing Choices unlimited phone support.
- The cost of the hearing aid in this process, includes the services from your HHP, (except for the cost of your initial hearing test).
Unbundling the cost
The cost of hearing aids, in Australia, is bundled up with the cost of the Audiologist or Audiometrist fitting your hearing aid. These professionals charge for their time, just like other health professionals. However it can sometimes be unclear as to what the price of the hearing aid covers, due to the wide variance in prices. The cost should include a number of things, including the hearing aid fitting appointment, a follow-up appointment to ensure you’re happy with your hearing aid and any consequent appointments you require to assist with your hearing aid.
Buying online, there can be a clear distinction on what the cost of your hearing aid covers. If it’s not clear, as a consumer, you can ask your online provider to break down the costing of your hearing aid. You can ask for information on the following:
- Hearing aid cost
- Hearing Healthcare Professional time cost
- Warranty cost
- Rechargeable battery cost
- Cost of disposable batteries
- Ongoing repair and maintenance costs
Some online providers offer a service where all costs are unbundled. If you’re an experienced hearing aid wearer and don’t feel you’ll need much (if any) after service, you can purchase a hearing aid that is completely unbundled for all included costs.
Most companies will offer a trial period of your hearing aids. This is usually a 30-day or 45-day trial. The trial period is important for you to consider the benefits you’re gaining from your hearing aid. Hearing aids are a high cost item so you want to ensure you’re getting value for your money. Questions to consider during your trial period:
- Do I know the end date of my trial period?
- Is the hearing aid comfortable in my ear?
- Am I able to put the hearing aid in and wear it comfortably for at least 8 hours a day?
- Am I able to use all the features/programs of my hearing aid successfully?
- Do I understand what all the features of my hearing aid can do for me?
- Is the hearing aid helping me in the areas I have noted that I want to be able to hear better in?
- Can I change the batteries/charge my hearing aid successfully?
- Am I able to wear my hearing aid confidently in all areas of my life?
If you answer ‘no’ to any of these questions, make sure you get your HHP to attend to each and every one of them prior to the end of your trial period. You should have a follow-up appointment, usually 1-2 weeks after your hearing aid fitting. Get all your questions answered and any issues attended to.
At the end of your trial period you have three options:
- If you’re happy with your hearing aids, finalise your fitting and any necessary paperwork and keep wearing your hearing aids successfully!
- Return your hearing aids if you’re not happy with them and you feel you’re not getting value for money. Get your refund.
- Discuss your options with your HHP if you’re not happy with your hearing aids but wish to continue with hearing devices - this could include trialling a different hearing aid.
Remember, it’s okay to return your hearing aids if they’re not performing as you wish. Don’t be forced into accepting hearing devices that haven’t provided value for money, and most importantly, an improvement in your communication abilities.
Most hearing aid manufacturers offer a three year warranty in the price of their hearing devices. This covers minor repairs and maintenance over the period of the warranty. Check what isn’t covered in the cost of the warranty – this could include the aid being chewed by the dog, getting the hearing aid wet (putting them through the washing machine or swimming with them), lost or theft. Once you’re clear on what the warranty covers, make sure you cover your hearing aids for other incidents, such as mentioned above, in your home insurance policy.
You can discuss your warranty length when you purchase the devices online, as there may be an option to purchase a longer warranty period if required.