If you’ve realized it’s time for hearing aids, you’ve probably noticed there is a lot of choice. A hearing practitioner can help you narrow down the brands and models, but first you have to choose a practitioner!
1. Big box store clinics
There’s no doubt it’s convenient to pick up new hearing aids while shopping for groceries or patio furniture, and Hanan says big box stores usually have the cheapest prices, too. But it comes at a cost.
“You typically sacrifice service. If you know exactly which brand and model of hearing aid you need, you might do just fine at a big box store. But not everyone adapts to hearing aids quickly, and most people need extra support to achieve satisfying results,” he says.
Many people need to try a variety of brands before they find one that feels comfortable, or need coaching and fine-tuning to adapt the sound to their needs. That level of service isn’t always offered at big box stores.
2. Chains and Franchises
“The biggest advantage of chain hearing clinics is that you can access their services across the country,” Hanan says.
When you invest in hearing aids, servicing is often included. So if you think you might move, purchasing from a chain is a smart move. But the selection at chain hearing clinics is often reduced, and you may not get the best advice.
“Most franchises are owned or heavily funded by a manufacturer, which means you have less choice, and are strongly encouraged to choose a specific brand. You may get lucky and find a good fit, or you may end up with a brand that doesn’t work for you.”
3. Independent hearing clinics
For strong service, great selection and unbiased advice, independent hearing clinics are usually your best choice. Most aren’t funded by a specific brand or manufacturer, and are locally owned and operated to keep money in your community.
“Sure, as the owner of an independent clinic I’m biased, but they generally offer the best service. When you’re spending thousands of dollars to improve your hearing, you want every possible advantage to achieve the best result. Independent clinics offer the widest selection and personalized service to find you the right fit,” Hanan says.