The world wide web (Internet) has been embraced by both young and old for purchasing, learning, connecting and well…nearly every aspect of life.
Larger percentages of older adults are online today, and they are doing more activities related to their healthcare needs – from searching for advice to finding a doctor. It seems today you can buy nearly anything on the Internet – including hearing aids. But, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association cautions consumers that they should not buy hearing aids by mail order or online because doing so may mean bypassing crucial parts of the diagnostic process, the hearing aid selection process, and the counseling that is needed in order to correctly identify degree and nature of hearing loss and maximize the benefit from hearing aids. Research shows the number one reason most people buy hearing aids on the Internet is price. Even though people know hearing aids will help them hear better and improve their lives, they look for the best or cheapest deal to save money. However, buying hearing aids on the Internet may save money up front, but that does not always result in buyers being satisfied with their ability to hear. With the varying degrees of hearing loss, the importance of hearing aids programmed to specific losses, is a critical factor. Buyers often report the inability to hear well, worry about whether the aid is set correctly for them and confusion on how and when to wear the hearing aids. Therefore, the money saved by buying online is often spent later on hearing aid adjustments, follow-up care and instruction, or the purchase of a second set of hearing aids that are more appropriate for the hearing loss.
The Internet is a great place to get information about hearing loss and hearing aids. However, when it comes to the actual diagnosis of hearing loss and/or the purchase of hearing aids, it should not replace testing in a sound treated booth by a certified licensed audiologist who also has a license to dispense hearing aids that can prescriptively fit hearing aids using sophisticated computer technology called real ear verification. At the Outpatient Center at Monroe the audiologist uses state-of-art sound treated test environments to ensure accurate hearing tests as well as advanced computerized technology to verify hearing aid settings. A variety of hearing aid manufacturers are offered to better meet your individual needs.
Due to the risks of buying hearing aids on the internet many hearing aid companies do not sell their hearing aids on the Internet and some have even placed notices on their websites warning buyers to have their hearing tested only from qualified professionals with the proper license and credentials. These credentials are imperative to protect consumers from incorrect identification, as well as prevent purchases of hearing aids that consumers either do not need or may be wrong for their hearing loss. In addition, omitting a hearing evaluation by a licensed audiologist can result in a missed diagnosis of the hearing loss or a serious underlying health condition. Some conditions include, blockages in the outer ear, ear infections, head injury, medication, noises in the ear, to name a few. When these conditions are identified, a referral is made to a physician for medical intervention.
If you or someone you know has a hearing problem, take the necessary steps to schedule a comprehensive hearing evaluation from an audiologist and receive that one-on-one care. For more information call 732-321-7063 or visit us at www.jfkaudiology.org.