Thinking of Purchasing Hearing Aids Online…

Things You Need to Know…

– By Dr. Noël Crosby, Au.D. –

online shopping“Don’t even consider it,” say the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, the American Academy of Audiology, the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, and the International Hearing Society. “Hearing aid sales and delivery models that circumvent the hearing healthcare professional pose financial risks to consumers because they are more likely to purchase unnecessary or inappropriate devices.”

To combat the risks inherent in over-the-counter and Internet sales, these national and international hearing health organizations have initiated a letter-writing campaign to all state health departments to urge consumers to not buy a hearing aid without first having a hearing test. And with the average cost of a pair of hearing aids ranging from $2000-$6000, it certainly pays to take a careful, thoughtful and systematic approach to finding the most appropriate treatment for hearing loss.

The truth is hearing aids are not appropriate treatment for all types of hearing loss. Your inability to hear well could be due to something as simple as ear wax or might be treated more effectively by cochlear implants or bone conduction hearing aids. That is why it is so important to have a complete and thorough hearing test before deciding upon the type of treatment that is best for you. Types of hearing loss and appropriate treatments…

Sensorineural Hearing Loss: This most common type of hearing loss occurs when the auditory nerves and cells of the inner ear are permanently damaged due to exposure to loud noise, aging, head injury, heredity and some medications. Sensorineural hearing loss is most often treated with hearing aids, however, if the hearing loss is severe-to-profound, a cochlear implant may be appropriate.

Conductive Hearing Loss: This type of hearing loss occurs when the outer or middle ear structures (hammer, anvil and stirrup) don’t work properly, keeping the sound from reaching the inner ear. Infections, head injury or birth defects are the primary causes of this type of loss. While hearing can often be restored with medical intervention, depending upon the degree of hearing loss, conductive hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids or with a bone conduction implantable hearing aid.

Mixed Hearing Loss: This type of hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss and can be treated with hearing aids or, depending upon the degree of loss, with a bone conduction implantable hearing aid.

Single Sided Deafness: This type of hearing loss is a profound sensorineural hearing loss of one ear only. The other ear maintains its ability to hear well. A bicros hearing aid or a bone conduction implantable hearing aid may be a suitable treatment options for this type of loss.

Additionally, there are a wide range of options available when it comes to selecting an appropriate hearing aid. A poor choice can result in spending unnecessary dollars for unneeded options and features or in buying a hearing aid that will not meet the expectations of the wearer. Only a trained hearing professional understands how to make the best recommendation for type and style of hearing aids based upon:

  • Lifestyle
  • Severity of hearing loss
  • Size and shape of the ear canal
  • Budget
  • Personal preferences

Buying hearing aids is not like buying any other retail product and successful treatment of hearing loss is not as simple as putting a hearing aid into your ear. Don’t make an expensive mistake or risk not being satisfied due to a poorly fitted hearing aid or inappropriate selection. Put your hearing health into the hands of hearing healthcare professional you can trust and take the first step to better hearing by having a complete hearing examination.

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