Buying Hearing Aids Online in Australia – Avoiding The Pitfalls
Buying hearing aids online, or even completing an online hearing test, is quite common now in Australia. If your hearing test showed you have a hearing loss and you're now looking to purchase something to optimise your hearing and communication, you may be thinking about buying a hearing aid online. It can be a very positive experience - you'll be able to find information on hearing aid manufacturers and their hearing devices all in one place.
This is a great place to start, but buying on line can also be full of pitfalls so it's a good idea to check out the following before you decide on your hearing aid options and click the shopping cart pay button:
1. Do your research
Is the Audiology service offered reputable? Is there an Audiologist or other Hearing Specialist involved? Check it's an Australian company with hearing care centres near you and make sure they're offering the latest hearing devices and technology. Manufacturers like Oticon, Phonak, ReSound, Signia, Starkey and Widex are well-known and reputable.
You should be able to investigate these high-quality brands and compare between sites in terms of prices, hearing aid styles and features. Features to consider in your hearing aids are speech clarity, (especially in noise) connectivity with Bluetooth and your smartphone, directional microphones and rechargeable options.
If you have tinnitus, you may also want to consider hearing aids with tinnitus specific programs.
2. Online customer service
What services or support are offered to you online? Is the communication from an Audiologist? You should expect a high level of customer service throughout each stage of the process - before, during, and after the hearing aid fitting procedure and purchase of your hearing aids.
This should also include an aftercare service. An audiologist will know how to read and interpret your audiogram and give you advice in regards to your hearing needs.
If the person on the other end of the website can't answer your hearing health questions, they are probably not qualified to be selling hearing aids online
3. Read the fineprint
Ask what the cost involves (device, fitting, aftercare, warranty, return policy) - always check the fine print. Is your hearing aid so cheap because it covers the device only and not the hearing aid fitting, or follow-up service or even the hearing aid batteries? Generally the cost of hearing aids in Australia is bundled up with the cost of the hearing specialist 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.
You will also want to know
- How long is the warranty and is there a trial period?
- Are there any ongoing repair and maintenance costs?
- What is the return policy for the hearing aid?
All these questions should be asked and then get it in writing before you purchase your hearing aids.
4. Look for Reviews
If you've decided to buy a hearing aid online, remember to also read the reviews of not only the online site you've decided to buy from, but also the associated hearing clinic where the hearing aid fitting will take place (make sure there is one!). Online reviews are easy to access. If you have a website or clinic in mind, type in the name and then ‘reviews’ in the search engine. If any reviews have been made, you'll be able to read them. A reputable online hearing aid site will have reviews readily available for you to read.
Buying hearing aids online, like any product, should not be rushed. Take your time, do your research and find a website that has excellent audiology knowledge and customer service - just like any bricks and mortar hearing centre.