Hearing loss is a prevalent issue that affects millions of people worldwide. As technology continues to advance, the way we approach solutions for hearing loss is evolving, too. One significant shift is the option to purchase hearing aids online without the need for an in-person hearing test or professional programming.
While online shopping may be convenient, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of buying hearing aids online versus the traditional method of consulting an audiologist. In this blog, we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches to help you make an informed decision about your hearing health.
Table of Contents
The Benefits of Buying Hearing Aids Online
Cost Savings: One of the most compelling reasons to consider purchasing hearing aids online is the potential cost savings. Hearing aids can be expensive, and many online retailers offer a range of options at lower prices.
Customer Reviews: Online retailers provide customer reviews for a vast selection of hearing aid models, brands, and features. This allows you to explore different options and easily compare various hearing aids, their specifications and customer reviews to make an informed choice.
Privacy and Discretion: Buying hearing aids online can offer a sense of privacy that some individuals prefer. Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of discussing their hearing problems openly or visiting a healthcare professional. Online shopping allows you to maintain discretion.
Convenient Shopping Experience: With the rise of e-commerce, shopping online has become second nature for many of us. The convenience of browsing, ordering, and having hearing aids delivered to your doorstep is a significant advantage.
The Drawbacks of Buying Hearing Aids Online
Lack of Professional Assessment: When purchasing hearing aids online, you will miss out on a thorough assessment of your hearing health. Without an audiologist’s evaluation, you risk not only choosing the wrong hearing aid but also other issues with your ears being missed.
Limited Support: Online retailers will not provide the same level of follow-up care and support that an audiologist offers. If you encounter issues or need adjustments to your hearing aids, you will struggle to find adequate help.
Potential for Misprogramming: While some online hearing aid retailers offer remote programming services, the quality and accuracy of this service are negligible. Misprogrammed hearing aids can result in discomfort and a lack of improvement in your hearing.
Warranty and Servicing: Online hearing aid warranties are often carefully written to make it very difficult to make a claim if your hearing aid malfunctions or breaks. In the event of technical issues or malfunctions, you will more than likely find it difficult to get the necessary repairs or replacements.
The Benefits of Audiologist-Assisted Hearing Aid Purchases
Professional Hearing Assessment: Perhaps the most crucial aspect of visiting an audiologist is the thorough hearing test and consultation. Audiologists are not only trained to diagnose the type and extent of your hearing loss, but they can also detect other issues, such as an autistic neuroma, and refer you to specialists if required.
Proper Fitting and Programming: Hearing aids are complex devices that require precise fitting and programming for optimal performance. An audiologist will ensure that your hearing aids fit comfortably and are programmed to address your unique hearing challenges. This personalised approach is vital for the best experience using hearing aids.
Follow-up Care: Audiologists offer ongoing support and care, including adjustments, maintenance and troubleshooting. If you experience any issues with your hearing aids, you can rely on your audiologist for guidance and assistance. This level of aftercare is often unavailable when purchasing online.
Professional Guidance: Audiologists can provide valuable advice and education on hearing loss management, communication strategies and lifestyle adjustments. They can also show you how to use your hearing aid and any additional features you may have chosen, such as Bluetooth or sound therapy for conditions like tinnitus anxiety.
The Drawbacks of Audiologist-Assisted Hearing Aid Purchases
There are no real drawbacks, apart from cost. Although it may be tempting to purchase a hearing aid online because it is less expensive, just take a moment to think about the fact hearing aids will improve your quality of life and can even significantly reduce the risk of dementia, according to multiple clinical studies, the cost becomes a factor you shouldn’t allow to influence your decision.
In the longer term, you may even find you spend less by purchasing more expensive hearing aids initially from an audiologist, as they can last many more years, and it is normally possible to reprogramme hearing aids if you have a slight decrease in your hearing over time.
Hearing aids fitted by audiologists can also be accessed through the NHS. If you are struggling to afford a hearing aid, rather than purchase one online, it is a much better option to speak with your GP and request a referral for a hearing test with an NHS audiologist.
The Final Verdict
The decision of whether to buy hearing aids online or seek the assistance of an audiologist ultimately depends on the importance of ongoing care and support, as this will vary significantly between online and audiologist-assisted hearing aid purchases.
Ultimately, the most crucial factor is ensuring that you receive regular hearing tests and assessments with an audiologist in order to rule out any other causes of your hearing loss and ensure a hearing aid is the right solution.