Many audiologists and hearing care professionals also sell hearing aids. Alternately, you may decide to buy from a hearing aid provider. Hearing aid providers may offer hearing tests and examinations, depending on if they have an audiologist on staff. If not, you should see a hearing care professional first and then buy the actual hearing aids from a provider.
Your options for hearing aid providers include the following:
- Independent hearing aid provider
- In-store retail outlets
- Online retailers
What are hearing aid specialists?
The staff of retail outlets and other independent hearing aid providers usually includes hearing aid specialists (also called hearing instrument specialists). They are trained to evaluate your hearing, fit your hearing aids, and provide follow up services. However, unlike audiologists or ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctors, hearing aid specialists typically undergo supervised training for only six months to two years. Some may have graduated with a two-year college degree in this specialty. Most states require hearing aid specialists to be licensed and national certification is available, although not required. You should expect to have to see a hearing care professional for full diagnosis of your hearing issues and any related conditions before going to a hearing aid specialist to be fitted with hearing aids.
Independent hearing aid provider
These outlets, which include Beltone™ and Miracle-Ear®, normally provide hearing aids but you still have to get your exam elsewhere. The selection of hearing aids is restricted to whatever kind bears the brand name of the provider. The providers may offer special discounts from time to time on their hearing aids, so it is worth looking out for these deals before making your purchase.
Some large retail chains like Costco and Wal-Mart have opened in-store centers that sell hearing aids. Besides the obvious convenience of chains that have stores in nearly every town, these outlets often offer specials and perks, like free hearing tests and other options.
Several online retailers now offer hearing aids for sale at discounted prices. We strongly urge anyone who might be considering the purchase of hearing aids from the internet to research any online retail outlet thoroughly before making a purchase. Some online outlets like HearXpress.com and Hearingplanet.com allow you to select and purchase your hearing aids online, however when you purchase your hearing aids, you are also scheduled for a fitting appointment with a network audiologist. The hearing aids you purchase are delivered to the audiologist who is paid a fitting fee by the online hearing aid provider. Hearing aids are prescriptive, individually programmed devices that require not only consistent qualified professional care, but also guidance through the process of learning to hear again.
Get your hearing tested before you buy
Call 855-355-9064 or contact us online to schedule an appointment to get your hearing professionally assessed today.