The Truth About Used Hearing Aids (Can I Wear Them?)

The Truth About Buying Used Hearing Aids

You may have a friend or loved one that passes away and leaves behind their hearing aids.  Or you may see used hearing aids for sale online.

Whether you can actually use a used hearing aid will depend on the following 3 things.

1. The type of hearing aid

If the hearing aid is an In-the-Ear (ITE, ITC, CIC) hearing aid that has been custom cased for the wearer's ear, then it will not fit someone else's ear. If you try to put someone else's in-the-ear hearing aid in your ear (which we don't recommend), then you will see that it either falls out, sticks out, or is uncomfortable in your ear. That is because that hearing aid was molded via an earmold impression to the shape and size of the original wearer's ear.

One way to utilize a used in-the-ear hearing aid would be to have it “recased”. This would involve having an earmold impression taken of your ear by a hearing healthcare professional and sending the hearing aid and the earmold impression to the hearing aid manufacturer to have them “recase” it.

Once the hearing aid has been recased, the hearing aid will need to be “reprogrammed” by your hearing healthcare professional to the prescription of YOUR hearing loss.

Recasing and reprogramming a hearing aid can be very expensive. There will be a charge from the hearing aid manufacturer for the recasing, as well as a charge from the hearing healthcare professional for the reprogramming. In this case, buying a new hearing aid may end up being the less expensive option.

If the hearing aid is a Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aid, then you would not need to have the hearing aid recased. This hearing aid style is “one-size-fits-all”. However, the piece that connects to the hearing aid, the earmold, is NOT one size fits all and would need to be purchased separately in order to utilize the hearing aid.

An earmold can be ordered by a hearing healthcare professional by taking an earmold impression. Once the earmold is ready, the hearing healthcare professional would need to reprogram the hearing aid to the prescription of YOUR hearing loss.

Purchasing a new earmold is usually less expensive than having to recase a hearing aid, but you will still be paying for the reprogramming of the used hearing aid to meet your hearing needs. The savings of a used behind-the-ear hearing aid may end up being minimal.

2. The age of the hearing aid

If the used hearing aid is over 5 years old, the technology is considered outdated. While the hearing aid will need to be reprogrammed by a hearing healthcare professional, the limitations in the programming of an older hearing aid may make it unsuitable for your hearing needs.

Hearing aid technology is updated frequently and once the new technology is utilized, much older models become obsolete.

3. Your hearing loss

All hearing aids have a “fitting range”, which is the range of hearing loss that it can accommodate with programming. If your hearing loss is outside the fitting range of the used hearing aid, the hearing aid can not be reprogrammed to meet your hearing needs. This needs to be taken into account when considering the use of a used hearing aid. Your hearing healthcare professional should be able to tell you whether the used hearing aid is compatible with your hearing loss.

Wearing a used hearing aid may seem like a good way to save money on hearing aids, but this is usually not the case.

The three factors discussed above will determine whether or not you can wear a used hearing aid and whether or not it will end up saving you or costing you more.

Lindsey Banks

Audiologist

Lindsey Banks is a graduate of the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) program at the University of Florida. She uses her diverse experience in hearing healthcare and her passion for helping people to provide credible information to those with hearing loss who visit Everyday Hearing.

Comments

  1. anthony ray says:

    my used hearing aid (about two years old) was an INTERTON. I NEED AN APPROXIMATE
    PRICE TO HAVE THEM RECASED AND PROGRAMMED,

    PLEASE REPLY. THANK YOU ANTHONY RAY

  2. Charles says:

    Hi.i bought used hearing aids had them reprogramed to my level they are not where my level of hearing loss are.can they be increased my audiologist says if I pay for a power increase.will that do.

    1. If they are RIC hearing aids then you can pay for a receiver level increase and they should accommodate your hearing loss.

  3. Judith prince says:

    A friend gave me 3 year old starkey hearing aids..starkey refuses to let me have them reprogramed.

    1. Everyday Hearing says:

      There are a lot of factors that play into this. Did you contact Starkey directly or did your hearing aid practitioner tell you that?

  4. Angela says:

    My sister has a brand new pair of Oticon Minirite hearing aides that she wants to give me,she only wore them for 2 weeks,the audiologist said it is $200 per hearing aide for reprogramming,that seems really pricey,it that really what it costs?

    1. Everyday Hearing says:

      That seems like a more than fair cost for this type of service.

  5. mary palmquist says:

    I broke my left hearing aid from miracle ear and can’t afford another high-priced one.
    what are my options for replacement and what would be the costs? Mary

    1. If you haven’t already I would recommend you take it to your local Miracle Ear store and request that they have it repaired. The typical cost of a hearing aid repair is around $200- $300 depending on the age of the device.

  6. I currently am wearing Miracle Ear Hearing aids I purchased in 2013-14…..I have been trying to find an audiologist who can recommend how I can extend the life of the aids. The left one is fine….but the right, I was told is over five years old and the computer could not readjust or reprogram the aid. The major problem has been how loud the volume is compared to the left aid. In this old model I have. the button on the over the ear piece is supposed to lower of raise the volume. I try to push the button of the left to lower the volume of the right aid….with no results. I push it many times, receiving first one beat then push again and I receive two beats signal. The recent audiologist tried to be helpful, with of course being anxious to sell me new aids….the latest new model types…Genius….I cannot afford the cost and had hoped he would be able to do something for me RE the volume adjustment of the right aid My hearing loss is significant….. The original hearing aids were not sold to me properly…..I no longer have the original manual. Do the buttons really work? Is there a wand that I can use to adjust volume?? I want to be able to wear these for one more year, if possible. Would you have an older manual for me to have emailed to me.

    1. Unfortunately hearing aids over 5 years old are difficult to get repaired if they are no longer functioning. You should however, consult with a local professional to determine whether your hearing aid can last you another year or if you need to get new devices at this time. You can find a local professional here: https://quotes.everydayhearing.com/org-hearing-tests?comment

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