The sticker price of digital hearing aids can shock even the well-educated consumer. Many hesitate to invest in hearing reclamation products because of the price. The newspaper is peppered with enticing advertisements about low cost hearing aids, causing clients to question the prices they paid elsewhere.
Remember the adage, “You get what you pay for”? Ask someone who has listened to one of those buy one get one free or super low cost or generic hearing aids about their performance; they sound awful. Most people who purchase these types of hearing aids quickly regret their decision. They end up putting them in the dresser drawer because the sound quality is so appalling, the craftsmanship so poor, and they lack the knowledge of how to effectively use the device.
The elevated price that seems to accompany this marvelous technology is definitely worth the investment. When you compare this cost to other expenditures families experience these days, the value becomes apparent. The average cost of one digital hearing aid can range from $1500 to $3500. Take the cost of a top of the line digital hearing aid — $3500 — and divide that cost by 5 years (the lower end of the life expectancy of a hearing aid), and it computes to $700 a year (or $53.33 a month). The amount of money most people spend monthly for cable, movie rentals, movie theater tickets, cell phones, magazine subscriptions, and restaurant bills well exceeds $53.33.
Manufacturers spend an enormous amount of time and money on the research and development of digital hearing aids before they are released to the public. The two main high end manufacturers that we work with at CBHC are reported to have spent $50 – $60 million each annually on the research and development of their latest products. Developing new hearing aid technology is not just about electronics any more. Medical research is a new area of cost for manufacturers. Manufacturers continually strive to produce products that amplify sound more naturally, clearly, and comfortably, and are able to make speech more audible in the presence of background noise.
Learning to use the hearing aid manufacturers design, whether you are a first time user or you are upgrading to substantially higher quality, takes time. Even the most independent do-it-yourself person can benefit from a professional who really understands hearing loss and hearing aids. During the adjustment period, it is essential to have a qualified, reliable audiologist involved. They will help you decide which of the problems you are experiencing is related to the hearing aid itself, which will require adjustments of the aids, and which is related to relearning, requiring your brain more time to adjust.
The amount of time an audiologist spends with someone learning to use a new hearing aid is significant. At CBHC, we average five direct contact hours during this critical learning period. A Doctor of Audiology is uniquely trained in all aspects of hearing care including psychology, medical conditions, psychoacoustics, correlating tinnitus and balance conditions and the hearing aid software. They are the highest trained professional that specializes in rehabilitation of the auditory system, which is accomplished with properly fitted hearing aids. To maintain a leading edge in hearing aid technology requires state of the art equipment and training, and provides a proper location for adjustments, counseling, and repair.
Consumers must make the initial step for improving their lives through better hearing by contacting a certified audiologist, not a hearing aid specialist or a hearing aid salesperson. While there are an estimated 28 million people with hearing loss, less than 21 percent of them are wearing a hearing aid. That leaves a staggering 75 percent of those who would benefit from hearing aids who are not wearing one. This is a frightening statistic, and it is the root of a growing national problem. When purchasing a hearing aid avoid being driven only by the cost. Remember the reason you are purchasing the hearing aid is to better communicate with your family and friends and to experience better living through better hearing.
Columbia Basin Hearing Center prides itself in offering affordable and professional hearing technology at every price point, as well as easy financing plans. Call CBHC to schedule your Free consultation with one of our Doctors of Audiology and learn how you can experience “Better Living through Better Hearing” for yourself.