Have you visited an Audiologist or Hearing Instrument Specialist, only to leave their office with sticker shock?
You may have never imagined that they were going to tell you that you would need to pay $6000 to get a pair of hearing aids. After all, you’ve seen them advertised in the newspaper for $250!
So, why is this hearing healthcare professional trying to rip you off?
Let’s do some investigating.
Hearing product ads litter the newspapers every day, offering hearing aids for a low cost. But, they don’t tell the whole story.
A personal sound amplification product (PSAP) is likely what you are seeing advertised for that low cost, not a high-quality digital hearing aid. A PSAP is not intended for those with a hearing impairment, they are intended for non-hearing-impaired consumers to amplify sounds in the environment for recreational purposes, such as TV.
PSAPs can be built for a low cost by combining a microphone, an amplifier and a speaker into a generic shell, or casing. You can buy something like this (see picture below) at your local drug-store down the street or online.
You can wear this personal sound amplification product (PSAP) in your ear and increase the volume so you can better hear soft sounds, like the TV or soft voices. However, according to the FDA, they are not meant for those with a hearing impairment.
Many electronic companies can purchase these simple components and make a PSAP. But, quality hearing aid devices are meant to help people with hearing loss, and they are made by manufacturers that are investing a lot of research into their products.
Remember the saying, “You get what you pay for.” It is absolutely true when it comes to purchasing hearing aids.
Many people who purchase a hearing device to save on cost, end up putting it in the dresser drawer where it is rarely ever used.
While personal sound amplification products (PSAP) may be right for some people, many others with hearing loss will need a good quality hearing aid to improve their hearing.
So why do high-quality digital hearing aids cost so much?
In order for a manufacturer to create high-quality hearing aids, they are going to have to buy a factory, machinery, and test equipment. They will need to hire thousands of technicians, researchers, engineers, scientists, and personnel to research, develop, test, and assemble these devices. And since these are considered medical devices, they also have to make sure that they are in compliance with the laws.
They will also need to have technicians available to repair and replace your hearing aid free of charge for at least a year while it’s in warranty.
These are not just basic components of a microphone, amplifier, and speaker anymore. In these digital hearing aids, millions of dollars go into the research and development of the technology, such as digital noise reduction, wireless streaming and connectivity, directionality, frequency lowering, and feedback management.
Do you want a hearing aid that whistles?
Then you’re going to need to invest in a high-quality hearing aid that is backed by the development of features that reduce that whistling.
You won’t get that technology with an online purchase of a personal sound amplification product.
And don’t forget that hearing aid manufacturers are businesses. They must invest money in marketing their products, as well as training personnel on how to use the products. These trained personnel must then travel to the hearing healthcare professionals’ offices to train them on how to use their products for their patients.
You then need to factor in the services you are receiving when you purchase these hearing aids. You are not picking one off a shelf, sticking it in your ear, and walking out the door. Not only are you purchasing a high-tech digital device, but you are also paying for the customization, care, knowledge, and services you receive from a highly trained hearing healthcare professional.
An immense amount of knowledge is needed to fit a hearing aid on each individual. The likelihood of your success with a hearing aid is going to depend on the skills of the hearing healthcare professional that you are seeing. This includes proper evaluation of your hearing loss, time taken to discuss test results and recommendations, customization of your hearing aid purchase including earmold impressions, orientation on the use and care of the device, and routine follow-ups, adjustments, and repairs.
All of these services take space, licenses, training, time, specialized equipment, and supplies.
You can buy a hearing aid anywhere, but it is only going to be as good as the person who is trained to fit it on you.
When looking at a hearing aid, you may not be impressed with the little piece of plastic and wire or two. But, the actual cost of the hearing aid isn’t based on the materials that go into them. It’s the development of the highly-advanced technology, as well as the human beings providing these high-tech devices that make up the final cost.
So, when you are purchasing a digital hearing aid designed by a reputable manufacturer, you are investing in a lot more than a tiny piece of plastic that makes sounds louder. You are investing in better hearing.
You can go here for some tips and tricks on how to save money on your hearing aids the right way.