After Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, we all know that there are some seriously good deals to be had when shopping online (there are some less than stellar deals, too).

I’ve bought a number of things online in my life from binder clips to antiques to a car (actually it was three cars all purchased on eBay). I even know someone who purchases all of their household products (paper towels, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, etc) on Amazon. They say that the prices are average but, by purchasing online, they no longer have to drive to one or more stores, shop, wait in line, drive home, and unload their car. The UPS man delivers everything to their front door. In fact, the list of things I won’t buy online is pretty short. But, as with any purchase, there are things to consider before making an online purchase.

First, if your consideration for purchase comes solely down to price, you would do best to compare apples to apples. For instance, if you want to purchase a new tablet computer, make sure that the specs from model to model, maker to maker, are similar. Don’t compare prices on a seven inch iPad with prices on an eleven-inch Windows table (unless of course, the computing power is the same and the deciding factor for purchasing is the fact that the Windows tablet is so much larger and easier to see).

However, if your consideration for purchase isn’t based on price but, instead, based on features such as ease of use, color, longevity, quality of workmanship, after-purchase service, warranty, etc, then you may find it’s best to make a chart listing the features you want with columns for each product you are considering. Then it’s easy to put a check mark by each feature

Sample comparison chart

Sample comparison chart

offered by each product. You will have a very good idea which product has what you want and the price associated with each product. If the product that best meets your needs costs a little more than the others, you can decide if that price difference is worth it to get what you want.

 

There are now several online sources for hearing aid purchases. But, before purchasing a hearing aid online, here are some things to think about:

  • A hearing aid is a complex medical device, not a sound-amplifier
  • Hearing aids have digital technology that can be (and should be) programmed by an audiologist to meet your hearing requirements
  • Hearing aids purchased from on online source without a complete hearing test and other necessary hearing aid services may not meet your needs
  • Programming hearing aids for your hearing needs may require specific computer software that every audiologist may not have or have access to. For some online hearing aid retailers, getting the hearing aids reprogrammed may mean you have to ship your hearing aids back to the seller or manufacturer which means that, unless you have spares, you will be without your hearing aids for a time.
  • To help with your adjustment to using hearing aids your audiologist generally provides office visits, reprogramming, batteries, counseling, and support when you purchase your hearing aid from them. Hearing aids purchased online generally do not include these services.

Your success with a hearing aid begins with a complete hearing test by an audiologist. For accuracy, hearing tests are conducted in sound-treated rooms using special earphones and equipment that have been calibrated to specific standards. Online hearing screenings do not meet these standards and should not be used in place of a comprehensive hearing test by an audiologist. An online hearing screening cannot tell you the cause of your hearing loss, if any, but they can alert you that your hearing is not normal and you should seek further testing. The cause of hearing loss may be something as minor as too much earwax or as serious as a brain tumor,

A comprehensive hearing test by an audiologist begins with an in-depth discussion about your lifestyle, listening needs, medical history, and any other concerns you may have about your hearing. All of this helps the audiologist determine the best hearing instrument for your specific hearing needs and which added features will be beneficial to you. You can expect your audiologist to perform a variety of tests including:

  • an audiogram which determines the type and degree of your hearing loss and how well you hear soft tones and different pitches
  • speech testing which is a measure of how well you can hear and understand speech in a quiet setting and with background noise
  • loudness discomfort testing which measures your ability to tolerate loud sounds and will help the audiologist program the hearing aids so that loud sounds are not uncomfortable

All of this testing helps the audiologist know what you need and be able to explain the results with you so you can work together to better improve your hearing and your communication. This is an important step because you will have a better understanding of your hearing loss and what you can expect from hearing aids if they are, in fact, recommended to you. Your audiologist may also be able to recommend additional hearing assistive technology such as telephone amplifiers, TV devices, FM systems, and audio-loops to help you hear better in situations where your hearing aids may be less helpful (in the car, when the TV is on, or in groups of people talking).

Working with your audiologist can help you get the most out of your hearing aids. If hearing aids are recommended, your audiologist will continue to work with you after the initial purchase to be sure that your hearing aids are meeting your needs and that you are happy with the sound quality and improvements in communication. Properly fitted hearing aids, counseling, and continued support are a huge step towards improving your listening abilities and your satisfaction with these complex digital devices. A bad experience will make you less likely to try again and, as such, can affect your ability to communicate and lower your quality of life.

Success with your hearing aids is so much more than getting the best price online. Face-to-face, in person service from a knowledgeable and caring professional audiologist and support staff can be critical to your improved hearing, communication, and quality of life.

At ihearingaids.co we’ve blended the best aspects of online shopping and in-person service and support and created a stellar experience for our clients. Our goal is to deliver to our patients the best pricing possible without sacrificing the professional service that is required to properly fit and maintain a hearing instrument. We do this by partnering with only licensed and qualified audiologists in your local area. Our buying power allows us to deliver exceptional value to our patients.

You can get excellent value as well as personalized hearing care from a licensed audiologist when you purchase your hearing aids through ihearingaids.co. Try us today!

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