1. Make sure they are seeing an actual audiologist. Call ahead to ask for credentials.
Audiologists have a degree in diagnosing hearing loss, not selling hearing aids. Be aware that some hearing aid dealers wear a white coat to look like a doctor when in fact they are not. The degree or training should be posted on the wall in the office so look there to see the actual credentials. This information should also be posted on their website or readily available if you call the front office.
2. Be skeptical of “free” hearing aids or coupons towards hearing aids. Always read the fine print first!
Chances are you or your parents have seen a plethora of newspaper ads and direct mailers with enticing offers and coupons. If something sounds too good to be true, it most likely is! If a hearing aid has an attractively low price, it most likely is a low end level of technology that might not be appropriate for your parent’s needs or it does not come with any follow-up care. The care that comes with a hearing aid should be one of the top priorities when purchasing a hearing aid so be sure to ask what comes with the purchase. For example, any hearing aid purchased at the Taylor Listening Center comes with unlimited follow-up visits for the life of the hearing aid. Other offices make patients pay out of pocket whenever they need hearing aid checks or cleanings.
3. Warn your parents about high pressure sales tactics. Watch out for things like “if you sign today you will receive this special pricing.”
You or your parents should never feel pressured into buying a hearing aid. If you feel pressured or notice any “sales tactics” you should run for the hills. An audiologist is here to diagnose hearing loss and RECOMMEND a hearing aid if applicable. It is then up to the patient to decide if they want to improve their quality of life. Hearing aid pricing generally doesn’t change on a regular basis so if they tell you to act fast to get special pricing, a red flag should be raised. Also, if a special discount or large coupon is offered, be skeptical. It is safe to assume that the pricing of the hearing aid was set unrealistically high to then be able to offer such a big discount. The process should not feel like buying a car, places that are willing to negotiate pricing are usually overpriced.
4. Though your parents are highly capable of going to the appointment by themselves, join them so you can feel out the situation and hear all the details. Come prepared with questions!
Four ears are always better than two! A lot of information will be discussed pertaining to results of testing, hearing aid pricing, office policies, warranty information and follow-up care. Feel free to take notes and request a copy of their hearing exam so you can keep it on file or bring to a different office if you felt uncomfortable.