2012: An insiders guide to buying hearing aids

More insurance companies are providing at least partial coverage of hearing aids. Check your coverage by calling the toll free number on the back of your insurance card.

More insurance companies are providing at least partial coverage of hearing aids. Check your coverage by calling the toll free number on the back of your insurance card.

In a recent study reported by the Better Hearing Institute, 53 scenarios were presented to 4,000 hearing impaired people who chose not to purchase hearing aids. The study asked which “what if” scenario would prompt a hearing aid purchase. Here are some of the highlights:

People who had a mild hearing loss were less likely to purchase hearing aids. This might seem obvious to most readers but those who described themselves as having a mild hearing loss had not had their hearing tested in the last 10 years or never. BHI’s (Better Hearing Institute) Online Hearing Check could motivate them to seek out a hearing health professional.

Reducing out-of-pocket costs. The top issue was third-party payment for hearing aids. More insurance companies are providing at least partial coverage of hearing aids. Check your coverage by calling the toll free number on the back of your insurance card.

Guarantees, Warranties, Insurance. The top rated product feature in the study was a money back guarantee if the hearing aid did not provide benefit. Verde Mobile Hearing Solutions offers a 30-day risk free trial period. Other extras included with your purchase from us are:

• 3-Year Warranty. Includes repair/replacement for a manufacturer’s defect and re-shelling if the hearing aids no longer fit properly.

• 3-Year Loss and damage insurance. This insurance covers hearing aids that are lost or damaged beyond repair.

Other desirable product features included greater reliability, no feedback/whistling, greater comfort and better sound quality. Beware: Wasting money on PSAPs (personal sound amplification products) sold through a magazine ad or over the internet.

PSAPs look like hearing aids but they are only sound amplifiers. Purchasing hearing aids over the internet is always risky business because of the inability to accurately program them. You need to see a hearing health professional to program newly purchased hearing aids accurately for your hearing loss, together with follow-up visits to make any needed adjustments.

Lifetime service. The provider will reprogram, clean and perform minor repairs on your hearing aids free of charge for the life of the hearing aid. Understand that the professional you purchased your hearing aids from offers the free lifetime service -- not the manufacturer. Other providers may charge for servicing your hearing aids as you did not purchase the aids from them.

New Technology. Today’s hearing aids feature noise reduction, speech recognition (both control background noise), directional microphones for 360° listening ability, binaural phone (hear your party in both ears) and Bluetooth for TV, phone and MP3 players. There are rechargeable hearing aids which eliminate purchasing expensive batteries and fumbling to replace them plus micro-in-the-canal hearing aids which are totally invisible.

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