Hearing Blog

Do You Need a Hearing Aid Fitting from a Local Audiologist?

November 22, 2017

My dad is funny. I’d say that he’s always looking for the best deal, but that’s not true. A good deal actually saves money. He doesn’t do that. So, let’s call him what he is. He’s a bit cheap. Not with his family, mind you. With us, he’s generous. It’s when he’s trying to buy something for the house or for himself that the short-sighted inner scrooge comes out.

For example, when I was still a child we lived near ski slopes, which meant year-round skiing. We tried it out, my father loved it and the rest of us enjoyed it well enough. It was decided (okay, he decided) we needed skiing equipment.

I still remember walking into the ski shop. My father took one look at the prices – which included everything from a consultation to fitting – and barked “No way I’m paying that kind of money!” I recall the face of the professional who offered to help us out. He radiated calm acceptance. This was nothing new to him.

So, we stormed out and went down the street where you could buy skis off the rack. In my imagination – It’s a very vivid imagination – he always cackles gleefully at this point. “Yes, yes, my son, I’ve found yet another way to waste money! Who needs a nest egg when you can have skis in the attic?” And he’s certainly got enough of those. Eight pairs the last time I counted. He’s also got four pairs of huge boots (he’s got big feet), a dozen ski poles and enough ski suits to outfit the next polar expedition.

You see, there is a problem with buying things ‘off the rack’ instead of getting them custom fit. When you’re new to something, like skiing, you don’t know what is a proper fit. What will provide the best performance. So you rarely buy the right one the first time around. Heck, you probably won’t even get it on the second try. I mean, we’ve all been buying clothes for ourselves most of our lives, right? Yet how many of us have drawers full of things we never wear?

Don’t make my dad’s mistake

We all want to save a little money, and hearing aids can be expensive. I fully understand that you’d love to save a few bucks. Who wouldn’t, right? The thing is, there are plenty of ways to reduce prices without losing out on quality.

You can buy most anything online these days. Choosing a company that doesn’t have a fancy storefront or spend huge amounts on marketing should result in savings passed on to the customer.

Another way to trim prices is by skipping over certain services. For example, having fewer middlemen can drop costs. Similarly, sometimes a warranty can cost more than replacing the item if it breaks. However, skimping on essential services can be a big problem.

Cutting out your fitting session at the audiologist belongs to the latter camp. You see, just like that skiing professional, audiologists know hearing aids. They can identify your needs and make sure you leave with the best hearing aids for your situation.

What’s more, they help fit the hearing aid to your ear. That’s important, as all our ears are different. They’re not quite fingerprints, but it is close. When you get a hearing aid that’s fitted to your ear, it will fit as well as your favorite pair of shoes. If it doesn’t, then it will feel like you have to shove a Lego block up your ear canal every morning.

In fact, hearing aids are more like shoes than you might realize. Sometimes it can take a little time to realize that pressure you thought you could live with is, in fact, unbearable. Now, if that happens when you bought a hearing aid without a fitting consultation, then that’s tough luck. You’ll either have to live with it or get a new one. If your hearing aid was fit by a reputable audiologist, then you can fix these kinds of problems at a follow-up visit.

Save money in the right places

Not being able to hear builds a wall around you. It means you can’t communicate with people, you’ll struggle to watch TV and music will no longer have the same appeal. Today’s hearing aids are sophisticated little machines that can change your world with the proper fit and tuning. There are a whole host of possibilities that can help you stay connected.

To make the best of them, though, you have to make sure that you get the hearing aid that is right for you. So yes, go bargain hunting, get the best discounts you can and save some money. Just make sure that you don’t cut out those services that are in place to assure you quality and comfort.

Your fitting with an audiologist is one of these services. It can be the difference between staying connected with the people and the things you love or watching them drift away.

And that’s a steep cost to pay.

Article from hearingnetwork.org