HAVE YOU HEARD?
When I began my career, over 30 years ago as an audiologist, there were only a few options available to receive help with hearing challenges. You either went to a retail location to purchase hearing aids, such as Beltone or Miracle Ear, or you sought medical help at an ENT office or a practice audiology clinic.
However, today there are many more options. Insurance companies have decided to be a player in the game as well as online options and big box retail locations. I suggest you thoroughly research and understand your options before you decide where you want to go to have your hearing healthcare needs treated.
You can order amplifiers or “hearing aids” online without sending them a current hearing test. How do the online companies know how to set your hearing aid or even verify that the settings are correct? I caution you to consider this option before you make your investment.
Be sure to ask questions. Think about the expertise of the location you have chosen and be sure to understand what you’re receiving for your investment. You truly get what you pay for!
I want to share with you a letter Ralph wrote to me explaining his recent “big box” experience. I will let you form your opinion yourself.
“Last year during Covid and living 4 hours away from Salisbury, my hearing aids were malfunctioning to a point that I was very frustrated. My office was closed in Concord and my team and I were working remotely so I didn’t want to travel 4 hours. A friend suggested that I should go to the big box store in Wilmington, as they have a return policy if I was not happy. So I drove to Wilmington and made an appointment for a hearing evaluation. Observations:
- First visit was to meet the technician who gave me a hearing test. The test was short and the big box store uses a software program they say to best align a specific device to the individual. The test was not nearly as comprehensive as Dr. Oden’s overall evaluation of the patient.
- Next the technician said I needed a specific brand “he” thought would best suit my hearing issues. It was a Philips brand. He next fitted me with the Philips brand and downloaded my specific software solution and put on large ear pieces that he said would help keep the inside broadcaster and mic better fitted. This turned out to be a very bad choice of ear piece and hearing aid.
- He advised I should download the Philips phone app which I did and then left the store to try them out for two weeks.
Performance: TERRIBLE. The setup with my hearing aids picked up oncoming cars and kept amplifying the road noise like they were locked in to the program. Thus, the background noise actually drowned out what I was trying to hear. It wasn’t only cars, but other background noise that got so loud I had to remove the aids and reinstall after I shut them down. So being that I wanted to be objective, I played around and spent too much time trying to fully utilize these supposedly “perfect” aids and the results were still bad. Before two weeks were up, I went back the “big box” retailer and returned them because I realized that I would only get the best patient care, advice and product through Dr. Oden’s office.
Conclusion: looking back and having to “package” my experience with the big box store, I can say that it was truly a “big box” experience whereas:
- The technicians in my opinion are not that well trained as they rely on their software program to be the ultimate of success with customers.
- Even though they rely on their programs, there is NO SUBSTITUTE for the care I have received from Dr. Oden’s office over the last 10 years. Dr. Oden and Jane and staff are the best at caring about the customer.
- So the bottom line is “you get what you pay for” and I will never leave Dr. Oden’s care.
As we integrate with more technology and mobility as a nation, I would suspect no one would want to miss out on family, friends and relatives conversations and events… so get the right product and care for your hearing loss through Dr. Oden’s practice.” Ralph Brittain
I am not saying we are the correct choice for everyone. Be sure to choose the right place for your specific needs. Consider your options, research and ask questions. You are investing in your hearing health, cognitive health as well as your overall health.