When You Buy Hearing Aids be Sure What You Need
Today, one can buy hearing aids, medicines that would normally require a prescription and all manner of other medically-related items via the internet. In fact, many people perceive this avenue as a means to avoid the embarrassment of revealing their needs to a GP, while others regard it a convenient way to shop and to obtain their products at a budget price. However, although it may save embarrassment, be quicker and even cheaper than the conventional route, it is also a path that can be paved with setbacks.
Firstly, many of those who offer specialised items such as these are simply intermediaries with no technical knowledge to advise those who wish to buy hearing aids or, for that matter, blood pressure medication. More significantly though, the days when these devices were just simple amplifiers and offered on the equivalent of a one-size-fits-all basis have long passed.
Today, there is a new generation of sophisticated instruments that is not only more efficient than those that they have replaced, but that is also adjustable, so as to meet the needs of each individual user more precisely. Instead, what one can expect from online supplier is a simple device whose purpose is to allow the wearer to hear the TV without setting the volume to a level that others find uncomfortable.
By contrast, when one buys a hearing aid from a specialised source, such as an audiology clinic, the first step will be to conduct a professional hearing test. Known as an audiogram, it is designed to evaluate a subject’s ability to hear individual frequencies within the range of human audibility, identifying those frequencies affected and measuring the extent of the impairment. For obvious reasons, both ears are tested.
The audiologist will conduct some further tests that are needed to determine whether the cause of deafness is conductive, sensorineural or mixed, and their results will also play a role in identifying the most suitable means by which to manage the condition. In practice, not everyone will be advised to buy hearing aids. In certain cases where the loss of audition is severe to profound, conventional aids are often ineffective and the only viable solution is more likely to be a cochlear implant. This serves to further highlight the importance of consulting a professional, rather than risk taking an uninformed decision which is almost certain to result in an inappropriate purchase.
Of course, even those patients who follow this route and are diagnosed correctly may still not receive an instrument that meets their needs as well as they might hope. As with most electronic items, quality is a variable. The prospect of a lower priced item is equally attractive to those who buy hearing aids as it is to those who may be looking for a new TV or DVD player.
Health, however, should definitely take precedence over entertainment. Furthermore, it is not always necessary to sacrifice quality in exchange for economy. At our Ear Institute centres, you will undergo an expert examination by a qualified healthcare professional, using the latest equipment. If the findings suggest a condition manageable with an electronic amplification device, then you will be offered a world-class Phonak instrument at a price covered by most medical aids when members buy hearing aids.