Especially as you grow older, the decision to be fitted for a hearing aid may become a reality. Whether you have suffered severe hearing damage due to illness or environment, or are gradually losing your ability to clearly comprehend word and sound, a hearing aid can greatly improve your quality of life.
Yet, for the many companies that offer hearing loss solutions, how do you know where to go? Some may obtain referrals from physicians or friends, but if that is not possible you may have to do some research to determine where you should be fitted. If you are in need of hearing aid services, here are some things to consider in your search:
Location: Where is the hearing aid company's laboratory located? Do they have a laboratory where the devices are manufactured, or does the company outsource their aids? How long has the company been in business? Do they have more than one location for your convenience?
Ideally, you would want to deal with a company close to where you live, that handles all aspects of manufacturing and fitting.
Certification: Is the company licensed with the National Board of Certification of Hearing Instrument Science? This is perhaps the most important question you would ask of any hearing aid company. When something as critical as your hearing improvement is involved, you want to be sure the company you choose is recognized accordingly by the top organization in the industry.
Warranty: Does the company offer any warranties on their hearing aids? If so, for how long is the warranty, and what is included? Find out everything before you sign any agreements to be tested and fitted.
Repair: What repair work, if any, will be done on your hearing aid? Will the company offer to first repair your old hearing aid before trying to sell you a new one? What repairs are covered under warranty, and what repairs will cost extra? Are repairs done same day, or do you have to wait?
Payment Options: What payment options are available to you? Does the company allow financing on hearing aids? Are their hearing aids covered under your insurance?
Staff and Customer Service: How friendly is the staff when you first encounter them? Do they tend to act more like salespeople than hearing loss professionals? Do they have licensed hearing professionals on staff, or do they outsource. Does the company perform hearing examinations on site, or do they send referrals elsewhere?
If you are able to find a company licensed by the NBC-HIS, staffed by competent hearing aid professionals, and offering a solid warranty and repair program, chances are you will have great success in receiving a custom fit hearing device. Do your homework and weigh your options carefully, for the good of your hearing.
Robert Hutchcraft is owner of Advanced Hearing Technologies, provider of quality digital hearing aids and repair services. AHT offers hearing device assistance and services throughout the Ohio Valley, in Virginia, and online at AdvancedHearingTechnologies.com.