- Why do hearing aids cost so much?
Hearing aids cost so much because they are expensive to develop, expensive to manufacture, and expensive to service. Consider the costs to the manufacturer: They must invest millions of dollars into research. During the trial period (when a hearing aid is purchased it comes with a “trial period”, a period in which it can be returned), they must bear the costs of returns. During the warranty period they must bear the costs of repairs and remakes. Consider the costs to the clinic that sells the hearing aids: rent, salaries, and equipment costs. Thus, when you pay, say $2000, for a hearing aid, you are also paying for the infrastructure involved in developing that unit as well as much of the subsequent service that it will require
- What’s the difference between an audiologist and a hearing aid practitioner?
Hearing clinics can be staffed by hearing aid practitioners (HAPs) or audiologists. To qualify as an HAP typically entails the completion of a post-secondary 2 year correspondence program. To qualify as an audiologist one needs a minimum of 6 years of university training. Although both professions can be licensed to sell hearing aids, only audiologists can provide testing/diagnostics in certain medical/legal situations. The cost of a hearing aid will be virtually the same, whether purchased from an HAP or an audiologist. You as a consumer can choose which profession you wish to purchase from.
- Why not purchase a hearing aid over the internet?
Yes, you can actually order a hearing aid from the U.S. by mail. You will pay less for a hearing aid over the internet than you would by purchasing it from a clinic in your neighbourhood. However, if that hearing aid needs adjustments, service, reprogramming, etc, it needs to be mailed back to the U.S. supplier for such services. If the physical fit is poor you will have great difficulty having the fit modified remotely by mail. Plus, the acoustic appropriateness of the fit cannot be properly verified. To properly verify a hearing aid fitting it needs to be tested by electroacoustic means while it is in the user’s ear-this cannot be done by mail.
- Why do some clinics charge for hearing tests and other don’t?
Most hearing clinics will provide free hearing screening tests. Some clinics will also provide more comprehensive testing for free as well. At Calvori Hearing we provide free screening tests but we charge for more comprehensive, diagnostic testing. At Calvori Hearing, the comprehensive testing is conducted by a registered audiologist-not all hearing clinics employ audiologists. The test fee for diagnostic testing is waived when a hearing aid is purchased.
- I saw a $20 dollar hearing aid advertised in a magazine. Is that a good hearing aid? Should I buy one?
By all means, yes, buy a $20 hearing aid. That is, buy a $20 hearing aid if you are the sort of person who would buy a $100 car, or a $5 set of false teeth, or if you’re comfortable jumping out of an airplane with a $10 parachute. As with all commodities, you get what you pay for.