"I see that hearing aids can now be purchased online. Is there a difference in the quality of the hearing aids?"
Yes! Most of the hearing aids sold at box stores and on the internet have circuits designed for adequate amplification in quiet environments. However, if your primary complaint centers on difficulty hearing in the presence of background noise, these hearing aids may not be appropriate for you.
The features on hearing aids vary, and all must be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for clearance before they are released. Because these features vary, the price reflects that. Directional microphones, multi-channel programming, bluetooth compatability, and digital noise suppression strategies are all features that impact the pricing of hearing aids.
It is important to meet with your audiologist to develop a customized fitting, rather than receiving hearing aids from an internet source that has used a hearing test and "Quick Fit" guidelines to program the instruments. Two people with the same hearing test results do not listen the same. Because of this, an audiologist will adjust the hearing aid settings according to a variety of factors including how well you tolerate loud sounds, how clearly you follow speech in noise and in quiet, and how well you understand rapid speech.
Audiologists must also account for an individual's lifestyle. Therefore, the following ten features are considered when selecting and programming a hearing instrument to accomodate an individual's hearing loss, lifestyle, and budget:
Be "picky." Know that today's technology in hearing aids is terrific, and expect significant benefit. All hearing aids sold in Tennessee are available to you on a trial basis, and you owe it to yourself to return the hearing aids if they do not meet your expectations.