Here are three things to avoid when shopping for a hearing aid:
1. Pre-owned hearing aids. It may seem like a good way to save, but used hearing aids still have to be fitted and programmed, says Stephanic Sjoblad, Au.D., professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. And that could cost as much as buying new hearing aids, especially if the devices need an expensive manufacturer’s repair.
2. “Locked” hearing aids. “You should be able to get your hearing aid adjusted wherever you are,” Sjoblad says, not just where you purchased it. Avoid brands that can’t be adjusted elsewhere.
3. Short trial periods. The Hearing Loss Association of America says hearing aid trial periods vary by state. Some states require none, while others give consumers 30 to 45 days to decide if a hearing aid is right for them.
Some dispensers are more generous with the trial period than others. The Food and Drug Administration recommends asking about the trial period, nonrefundable fees, the warranty, and whether maintenance and repairs are covered.
Read more about how to find the right cell phone for your hearing aid and whether a hearing aid alternative may be an option for you.
Erica Manfred is a Florida-based freelance journalist. Her articles and essays have appeared in Atlantic.com, Salon.com, Seniorplanet.org, Healthline.com, The New York Times Magazine, Village Voice, Woman’s Day, SELF, Cosmopolitan, and Ladies Home Journal, among others. She is also the author of several books, including “He’s History, You’re Not: Surviving Divorce After 40.”