This question is asked regularly in our office, let’s discuss! The simple answer to the questions is: IT DEPENDS! The most important factor to consider when figuring out if you can wear someone else’s hearing aid is to determine what style hearing aid has been given to you. Is it a custom hearing aid or a hearing aid that goes behind-the-ear (BTE)? If someone has gifted you a custom style hearing aid, you are unfortunately out of luck. A custom hearing aid has been specifically made for an individual’s unique ear shape and in order to properly amplify, a perfect fit is necessary. If you have a behind the ear style device, you are in luck. This style can be used by multiple ears. Please refer to the flow chart to understand the process better. Also, here are a few extremely IMPORTANT things to keep in mind!!
1. Never put someone else’s hearing aid in your ear before seeing an audiologist. The level of gain for that hearing aid may dangerously exceed the level of gain you need for your specific hearing loss. This could cause ringing in the ears or damage your auditory system.
2. Hearing aids come with a service warranty through the hearing aid company but the length of the warranty varies between manufacturers and the level of technology. For example, a top of the line hearing aid usually comes with a 3 year service warranty. If the hearing aid you have is over 3 years old, the warranty has expired. If an audiologist determines repair work is needed for the hearing aid to function correctly, you should expect a charge of around $250 to $500 depending on the work needed. That charge includes a new warranty for either 6 months or a year.
3. Most audiologists charge a “fitting fee” to cover the time and resources needed to fit a new patient with an old hearing aid. Ask about the fitting fee at your appointment!
4. Though the style of the hearing aid may fit your hearing loss, the level of technology may not fit your lifestyle. Discuss if this level of technology will meet your listening needs.
5. Always see an audiologist first to determine if you even need a hearing aid or if a wax impaction is causing your hearing loss. You should seek medical clearance before the use of a hearing aid.
At the Taylor Listening Center, we specialize in hearing aid fittings. Please call us with the brand of the hearing aid you have so we can determine if we have the software for that specific brand. Let us know if you have a current hearing test from the past 3 months. Do not worry if you do not have one, we can test you in the office! If you decide to purchase a new set of hearing aids, we would love to give your old set of hearing aids to someone in need at no charge to them.