Last updated on May 26th, 2023 at 10:57 AM
As household budgets continue to be squeezed, many people are cutting back on unnecessary expenses and searching for cheaper alternatives, even when it comes to products and services for their health and well-being.
Medical devices such as hearing aids are now readily available at the click of a button, often at much more competitive prices than traditional offline retailers. But purchasing hearing aids online can be daunting, particularly for people who have not done it before.
Bev Carter, Senior Hearing Aid Audiologist at Hearing Direct, said “With rising energy costs and food prices, we are all looking at ways we can make savings without compromising on the essentials.
With research showing that hearing loss can increase feelings of loneliness and social isolation, it is vital that nobody with hearing loss struggles in silence. Thankfully, there are a lot of affordable hearing aids on the market, especially when you look online.
“Thanks to the likes of wireless headphones and Bluetooth headsets, people are more accustomed to wearing devices in their ears than ever before. This is slowly but surely helping to remove the stigma that was associated with wearing hearing aids in the past.
“There is some incredible new technology out there which is affordable and can be transformative for people who struggle with hearing loss.
However, the process of buying hearing aids online can be daunting for those who have never done it before and making the wrong decision can prove costly, both financially and emotionally.
“Our aim is to steer people through the buying process and help them to make the right choice when it comes to their hearing aids.
We also want to add some fun to the process and get people excited about the variety of fantastic options that are out there to help them.”
Hearing Direct’s ultimate guide to buying hearing aids online
- Research before you buy
“Research is essential before deciding what to buy, especially if you’ve never purchased hearing aids online before. Make sure you look at a variety of websites and different brands so that you can fully understand the range of products that are available.
There is some fantastic technology available, such as Bluetooth devices that can connect to your mobile phone and TV streaming devices that can support you with hearing loss, as well as some impressive new multi-functional hearing aids.
“Much like other online purchases it is always wise to seek out reviews, so you know that you are buying from a reputable source.
Try to find brands that give you access to an audiologist, rather than just acting as an online marketplace for hearing aids without any genuine interaction. The best online retailers will offer virtual assistance with help and guidance from a hearing aid audiologist.
You could pair this with some offline research too and look at some items in real life so that you know what you’re getting from your online purchase. This will also help you to compare prices and see the potential cost savings available when you buy directly.”
- Choose the right fit
“There are many factors that affect how well your hearing aids will fit, from different product types and sizes to the dexterity of the user.
Everyone’s ears are different shapes and sizes, but there is sure to be a hearing aid to fit your unique needs. When I first speak to my clients, I recommend booking in a video call, which not only provides a more personal experience but also enables me to understand how mobile they are, so that I can recommend the best product to fit them.
For example, if you struggle to handle small objects, a rechargeable hearing aid might be a better match for you than one with tiny batteries that need changing regularly.
“Once you have decided on the product, it needs to be programmed precisely to suit your lifestyle and needs. If you are planning on wearing it in social settings, the right programming can help you to focus on conversations and reduce the volume of background noise.
Similarly, if you mainly use your hearing aid at home, for activities like watching TV, the programming can be adjusted accordingly.”
- Involve family or friends
“It’s always a good idea to speak to a family member or friend about your hearing loss and involve them in the process of buying hearing aids.
I encourage clients to invite a loved one to the initial consultation, as this helps me to build up an accurate picture of the wearer’s lifestyle and what they need to get from their hearing aids.
Family members often notice missed conversations more than the person themselves, and these insights can be invaluable when deciding on the best products to meet the user’s needs.
“Family and friends can also help you to feel more enthusiastic about your new purchase. Hearing loss can be incredibly isolating, and many people have an element of negativity when it comes to wearing hearing aids.
This is often compounded if you have had a bad experience with the wrong set of hearing aids in the past, or if you have purchased something without it being properly programmed.
Involving family and friends in the decision-making can reignite your enthusiasm and help you to find the right hearing aids to make a positive change to your lifestyle.”
- Don’t just click and collect
“Hearing aids should be programmed precisely to suit your needs and lifestyle. I often refer to this as a rehabilitation journey, as clients need close care and support in those crucial first weeks and months of wearing their hearing aids.
You should avoid buying from a site that doesn’t offer aftercare, as this is a key step in fine-tuning your devices and making sure you are getting the most out of them.
If you skip this step, you are likely to be left with below-satisfactory hearing aids that you probably won’t wear, no matter how good the actual device is. This can be an incredibly costly mistake, not to mention demoralising.
“And one final piece of advice is to only buy online if you are relatively experienced on your hearing loss journey.
If you have never bought hearing aids before or if this is the first time you have had a hearing check, I would advise you to first visit an audiologist in person so you can build a full picture of your needs and preferences first. The internet will be waiting for you when the time is right!”
Hearing Direct has compiled its Top 3 product recommendations for people buying hearing aids online:
1) Signia Silk 1Nx Digital Hearing Aid
RRP £298.00 each | £498.00 per pair
Suitable for all budgets with three price categories. In-ear design is small and discreet. Easy to use and controlled via a smartphone app.
2) Signia Motion S 1px Digital Hearing Aid
RRP £299.00 each | £549.00 per pair
Particularly suited to elderly wearers who require a simple but effective model. Easy to use with remote control for volume adjustments.
3) Styletto 7AX Rechargeable Digital Hearing Aid
RRP £1,595.00 each | £2,895.00 per pair
Top end of the market with an award-winning design. Rechargeable with Bluetooth connectivity and remote control. Delivers outstanding speech clarity.