Many hearing aids sold online do not come with a professional fitting
There are many websites that sell hearing aids without an in-person professional fitting. People who purchase these devices are left hoping that their hearing aids, both fit and sound, are correct when they arrive. At HearStore, our hearing aids come with local fitting by a licensed hearing healthcare professional. The hearing care provider will make sure fit and sound quality are correct to ensure satisfaction.
Many hearing aids purchased online come bundled with services you may not need
When you buy hearing aids, whether online or from a local office, most come bundled with services and/or accessories you might not need. HearStore uses an 'unbundled' model and gives you choice, by allowing you to determine what level of follow-up is best for you. After the local fitting, you may decide to use HearStore's remote service option (included in the purchase of hearing aids) or select a 1 year, 2 year or 3 year local service option. We also include an updated hearing test, if one is needed. This way, the provider can use your latest hearing test results to program the instruments accurately.
You don't always save money purchasing hearing devices on the internet
Many websites claim they will save you hundreds or thousands of dollars by purchasing through them. What they don't mention is that they bundle unnecessary accessories or services with the sale, leading to inflated prices. There are even some websites that charge as much (or more) than local practices. Many also ask you to call in to get their complete pricing. At HearStore we publish our hearing aid prices for everyone to see - that allows you to make an informed decision. When you show up at your dispenser or audiologist's office, you'll know you are getting a great deal.
Some of the other online hearing aid sites are owned by hearing aid manufacturers
There are other websites out there that are owned by some of the major hearing aid manufacturers (or their parent companies). These sites often promote their parent company's preferred brands without disclosing the relationship to their customers. At HearStore, we have no bias and instead work with you to find the right hearing device for you. Your satisfaction is much more important to us than the brand of hearing aid you select.
SELECTING A HEARING AID
After identifying a hearing loss, the next step is selecting the best technology for the individual’s hearing needs. Today’s array of hearing devices provides many opportunities for customization and connectivity. Most hearing loss can be treated within a range of choices. Below is a guide for step by step selection.
The style of a hearing device typically describes the aesthetics and where the microphone(s) and speaker are placed. Not only are some styles more attractive than others, but some are better for certain ranges and types of hearing loss. Most devices today are lightweight, easy to insert and discreet. Many people choose certain models over the others based on personal preference. There may be times when a particular style is recommended based on your history, dexterity or hearing level.
RIC (RIE) - Receiver In The Canal (Ear Canal)
The RIC (RIE) is the most commonly prescribed and sold hearing device. A slim processing unit holding the microphones slides over the top of the ear while the receiver (speaker) is at the end of a fine wire inside the ear canal.Often the processing unit behind the ear will have a small push-button allowing the wearer to change to a different predefined setting, change volume, mute or connect to a streaming device or loop system (available with t-coil units). The devices cover from mild to severe hearing losses. Usually 2 microphones are placed just behind the ear to provide an optimal noise reduction.
Basically invisible from the front and only marginally seen from behind, most people enjoy the discreet,natural-feeling use of this style. Many RICs are now made for iPhones and stream directly from all Apple products.
When selecting a RIC a measurement between the canal entry and the top of the pinna will determine the length of the wire. Most manufacturers have at least 4 different lengths and some up to 7. In addition to the length, the small silicone tip (or dome) placed over the receiver will be selected based on canal size, degree of hearing loss and comfort. Colors for the slim processor setting behind the pinna vary from skin and hair tones to fashion statements in ruby red, metallic blue or black with chrome as well as military themes in camouflage.
The RIC styles have 3 different power option. Obviously the smallest ones will use the smallest hearing aid battery #10. The next size and most popular is the #312 battery processor. This is still relatively unnoticed between glass frames and the pinns. Finally the most economical and longest lasting style would be a #13 which has a slightly larger base near the end of the processor.
BTE - Behind-The-Ear
BTE hearing devices are similar to the RIC style, but utilize a thicker plastic tube. Also, the speaker (or receiver) is housed in the part behind the ear, instead of the in the ear. These products are typically more reliable, but are also larger and less discreet than other options. For these reasons, this style is typically utilized for more severe hearing losses.
CIC - Completely In The Canal
The CIC is a small unit that fits totally inside the ear canal. Basically invisible it allows the wearer to easily wear earphones, place phones to the ear and participate in activities with excessive wind noise. The devices cover from mild to moderately severe hearing losses. Typically only one microphone is placed in the device. Often an earmold impression will be made and sent to the manufacturer for a custom shell. However, recent models provide for an easy, fast-fitting option using differing sized click-on domes.
ITE (ITC) - In The Ear (Canal)
An ITE (ITC) device is primarily used by those with either more severe hearing losses, reduced finger movement or desiring nothing over their ear (e.g. oxygen tubes). A custom earmold impression is taken and sent to the manufacturer for the shell to be made.
Model by Technology Features
The model is the specific name of a product offered by the manufacturer. It will be identified on websites and marketing materials by the often patented features characteristically high-lighted in the unit. Some features relate to the hearing loss degree, connectivity options, microphone function or battery size.
Features to be considered include the following:
Directional Microphones: Two microphone aligned allows the hearing aid to pick up sounds from in front and behind. It also aids in reducing background noise in certain environments. Some APPs that assist in controlling hearing aids let the wearer change the direction the hearing aids are focusing.
Wireless Connectivity: Many hearing aids can now connect wirelessly to certain Bluetooth compatible devices. For instance, several devices directly stream iPhones, iPads and iPods Others use a small device to relay the signal from the phone or tablet to the hearing aids.
Programming These options allow the user to change the hearing aid settings for different environments. Accessing is through a button on the device, an App on a phone or tablet, or a remote control.
Telecoils: Telecoils (or T-coils) allow for easier communication when speaking on a telecoil-compatible phone. Also some public settings such as churches or theaters use induction loop systems that transmit the speaker or movie directly to the hearing aid
Hearing Apps: The growing presence of apps on Smartphones and tablets has not escaped the hearing aid world. Many hearing aids can be controlled and set via an app. GPS location assists if the aids are lost as well as location activated custom-created programs. The battery status is displayed easily on the app.
Rechargeable Batteries: Reliable recharging batteries are now available for hearing aids. Most hearing aids can be worn for more than just a 12 hour period before re-charging. This option can save money, assist those with poor dexterity and be beneficial to the environment. Be sure to check how often the rechargeable battery may need to be replaced.
Accessories: Hearing aid accessories range from TV streamers to small remote controls. A few hearing aid manufacturers even create landline phones that directly connect to the hearing aids. While most hearing aid wearers do not need anything beyond the devices, it does open up possibilities and choices.
The process of purchasing hearing aids can be frustrating. There are many different models and technology levels to choose from and finding the right hearing aid for you is important. In addition, very few local practices will readily disclose all prices unless you have completed a complete hearing test with them. In general, hearing aid prices can vary from around $1000 to several thousand for one device. This is why many people now choose to buy hearing aids online. At HearStore, we made it our mission to lower the cost of hearing care and offer some of the best hearing aid prices around. For those who need it, we also offer hearing aid financing. HearStore customers can be confident in their choice, because we also back all of our products with a 45 day trial period.