Laura O. Robertson, Au.D

Doctor of Audiology

(603) 528-7700 • Toll Free (800) 682-2338
Fax (603) 528-9623

211 South Main Street
Laconia, New Hampshire 03246
info@audiologyspecialists.com

 

Buying Hearing Aids

Things you should know

It is often stressful to purchase new hearing aids. There is a wealth of information, sometimes conflicting and often confusing, found on the internet.  How hearing aids are purchased is evolving too.  This article is intended to help you answer some important questions and to help you understand some important details.  Your local Audiologist is there to help ease the process and answer your questions.

  1. No matter where, or whom, you buy hearing aids from, you are guaranteed the right to return them within 30 days, for any reason.
  2. If you make your purchase in NH, you must receive a purchase contract which provides important information about your warranty for service (services which will not cost you money), your right to return or exchange the instruments, how much of your purchase price is to pay for the instruments themselves, any custom attachments and how much of your purchase price is to pay for the services you receive from the office.
    1. If the purchase price is not separated out as described above, you must receive all your money back, except 5% of the total.
    2. If the prices are separated out, a refund all of the instrument price should be returned to you.
  3. NH instituted a mandate for health insurance coverage to help you purchase hearing aids.  This mandate only applies to people who are employed in positions within NH and are receiving insurance, which their employer buys for them.  If you have Medicare, you do not qualify for this mandate.  If you work out of state, you do not qualify.  If your company “self insures” their employees, you many not qualify. The mandate says you have $1500, per ear, every 5 years, to buy hearing aids.
  4. Many insurance companies are now using a 3rd party provider, such as Amplifon.  They are doing this because it is administratively easier to make all payments to one business, instead of paying a variety of them.  Thus, they feel they are saving money.  For instance, if you have Cigna Insurance, it is likely that you will use this service.  To use the service, you must contact Cigna and get them to connect you with Amplifon.  Amplifon must then send a purchase order to an office they contract with. This limits your choice of where you can get service/whom you work with. That office can then supply hearing aids to you, which are provided by Amplifon.  You will have limited services covered through the local office and purchase payments are made to Amplifon.  This means that any refunds must be recovered from Amplifon, not your local office.
  5. Insurance companies providing discounts or benefits toward the purchase of hearing aids will limit your choices of products and your choices of providers.  They will apply your insurance deductible before you receive any benefit.  Thus, you may end up paying more than you anticipate. Remember:  Insurance companies make their income by collecting money, not paying it out.  They may say things like, “you are 100% covered.”  That does not mean they will pay 100% of your bill!
  6. Hearing aids may be purchased over the internet and sometimes the pricing may seem attractive. This was recommended recently by AARP.  Do you know why?  Because AARP is receiving a direct, financial benefit when you purchase from the site they recommend. There are important things to know before purchasing on line:
    1. Products offered are often NOT current products.  Manufactures provide service or repairs for only 5 years after they discontinue a product.
    2. Differences between products are sometime subtle and sometimes significant. It takes tremendous effort for audiologists to keep track of these differences and know how best to apply them to the individual they see. Lack of understanding of product differences can have a major effect on your satisfaction with your hearing ability.
    3. Some hearing aids being sold are “locked”.  This means that your local Audiologist can not modify or adjust how the hearing aid works.  This will have a significant effect on your satisfaction.  It will also require you to obtain new hearing aids soon, thus spending more money.
    4. Good or bad, corporations have realized there is money to be made by selling hearing care.  They are making changes to any aspects of government they can, so as to improve their chances of making profit from you.  They are not concerned with your circumstances, only their bottom line.
  7. Some written articles, websites or other organizations may lead you to believe that you can purchase and use hearing aids as you would “cheater” eyeglasses.   While initially less expensive, this may result in purchasing products that don’t meet your needs or make you replace your hearing aids more frequently.  Ultimately, this is not likely to save you money. To purchase hearing aids “off the shelf,” you will need to pay a local expert a fees for:  your hearing evaluation; teaching you how to put on and use your devices; adjusting the instruments (if possible) and maintaining their function.
  8. Your local Audiologist will spent the time to obtain a thorough measurement of your hearing impairment and your communication needs to match a product appropriate to your specific lifestyle.
    1. Hearing instrument wearers quickly learn that regular maintenance and service will have a great influence on the quality of their communication.
    2. Hearing aids should be sophisticated electronic devices that are designed to be user friendly and effective. It is extremely helpful to have an expert help you learn how to use it to your greatest advantage.
    3.  Having a professional recommend appropriate manufacturers and models will help you start with more satisfactory hearing aids, allow you to make changes as needed, modify the hearing aids as time passes and your hearing declines, and help you achieve the greatest longevity possible from your devices.
    4. The typical user often wears the same hearing aids for an average of 3 to 5 years.
    5. If you appreciate expert, professional care from a local member of your community, contact your Audiologist for your hearing care.

"I'm a HAPPY, very satisfied owner of dual Clear440s and an M-Dex controller fitted by Dr.  Laura Robertson…Still amazed at how much sound quality was missing before.  The AE component is spectacular for clearing up speech which is needed for complete understanding at work.
"

-Frank Towle

AUDIOLOGY SPECIALISTS, LLC

211 South Main Street • Laconia, New Hampshire 03246

(603) 528-7700 • (800) 682-2338info@audiologyspecialists.com

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