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A consumer's guide to hearing aids used to insist that you can only get hearing aids from an audiologist's office, but the FDA created a new classification for OTC hearing aids, approving them for sale in October 2022.
This is a big deal since it means more people who need hearing aids can now get their hands on them. Customers interested in buying modern hearing aids like Widex now have the option of buying from the comfort of their homes.
A hearing test is not required to purchase hearing aids, but experts advise evaluation since it is hard to know the extent of hearing loss without one.
Nowadays, there are more choices than ever before. We offer a detailed overview of where you can get quality hearing aids near me below and focus on what you need to be wary of.
Buying Hearing Aids Near Me
Hearing aids may be purchased from many different locations, both online and in-store. Several businesses provide reasonably priced, high-quality over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids.
Hearing Aids Near Me: Buy OTC Hearing Aids Online
Most people look for hearing aids online these days. It saves having to make an appointment with an audiologist, plus there are many more choices of models and price ranges. Furthermore, several over-the-counter hearing aid manufacturers provide online audiologist consultations to help you fine-tune your new device.
Hearing Aids Near Me: Visit a Hearing Clinic
You need to see an audiologist or hearing aid expert for a consultation and hearing test before you can acquire hearing aids with a doctor's prescription.
The diagnosis of hearing loss and the fitting of hearing aids are the primary responsibilities of audiologists, who often have a master's degree in the field.
Hearing aid specialists are qualified to help with the fitting and programming of hearing aids, often with a Bachelor's or Master's degree and years of experience.
Hearing Aids Near Me: Purchase Prescription Hearing Aids Through a Discount Network
There are discount networks that provide savings of up to 40% off the retail price of hearing aids with a prescription. When you purchase from this group, you'll be connected with a local audiologist for follow-up care.
If you are a veteran in need of a hearing test and assistance in selecting the best hearing aids for your needs, we encourage you to contact your local VA medical facility.
Hearing Aids Near Me: Buy OTC Hearing Aids in Stores
As indicated above, the following is a list of local establishments that also offer over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids and other health items:
- Best Buy
- Victra Verizon
Hearing Aids Near Me: Online vs In-person
At a clinic, a specialist may check your hearing and make any necessary adjustments to the hearing aid before you buy it. In contrast, shopping for hearing aids online allows you to avoid leaving the comfort of your own home.
Help with fitting and modifying your hearing aids is available online from several over-the-counter manufacturers like Widex.
Hearing Aids Near Me: How To Choose the Right One
You may choose from a wide variety of hearing aids nowadays. There are a few things to think about while deciding which one is the best for you.
Gaining additional information about hearing aids and their use might help put your mind at ease if you've been on the fence about having one due to aesthetic or practical concerns.
It's crucial to bear in mind that hearing aids can't magically return your hearing to normal. Yet, they may improve your hearing by enhancing noises you might have had trouble hearing before.
Hearing Aids Near Me: How Hearing Aids Work
All hearing aids work on the same principle: they take in ambient noise, process it, and then transfer the amplified signal to the ear.
The vast majority of today's hearing aids, whether digital or analog, are powered by either a rechargeable battery or a standard battery. Little microphones in these devices record ambient noise.
A computer chip with an amplifier takes in sound and converts it to digital code, then changes it depending on your hearing loss, your preferences, and the volume of the ambient noise.
The amplified signals are then converted back into sound waves and sent to listeners through speakers or receivers.
Hearing Aids Near Me: Hearing Aid Styles
There is a wide variety of hearing aids available, each with its own size, price, set of features, and ear placement. Manufacturers of hearing aids are responding to the needs of those who would rather not draw attention to themselves by wearing a noticeable gadget by creating smaller aids.
Unfortunately, the degree of sound amplification provided by these smaller devices may not be sufficient for certain people. Below are some of the most prevalent types of hearing aids, listed from most discreet to most obvious.
Completely in the Canal (CIC) Or Mini CIC
Adults with mild to moderate hearing loss may benefit from a hearing aid called a completely-in-the-canal device because it fits discreetly and comfortably within the ear canal.
What you can expect from the best CIC hearing aids:
- There is less of a likelihood that you'll hear the wind
- Some run on tiny batteries that die quickly and are difficult to work with
- There are seldom granular volume controls or the ability to install a directional microphone
- The smallest and least noticeable hearing aid
- An accumulation of earwax in the speaker may severely impair their ability to hear
In the Canal
The in-the-canal hearing aid is a specialized device that is tailor-made to fit at least partly into the ear canal. Those with mild to severe hearing loss will benefit from this treatment.
What you can expect from the best ITC hearing aids:
- Fits more discreetly in the ear canal than other styles
- There are features not seen on other in-canal aids, although changing the device may be difficult
- An accumulation of earwax in the speaker may severely impair their ability to hear
In the Ear
There are two different types of bespoke ITE hearing aids: full shell and half shell. The former completely covers the bowl-shaped portion of the outer ear, while the latter covers just the bottom section.
These models' directional microphones help those with moderate to profound hearing loss hear better in loud settings.
What you can expect with the best in ear hearing aids:
- Convenient to use
- Compared to other, less obvious earpieces, it stands out more
- An accumulation of earwax in the speaker may severely impair your ability to hear
- Unlike smaller hearing aid designs, this one allows you to adjust the volume as well as other features
- Has a wide variety of rechargeable battery options and relies on a larger battery to increase the duration
- The possibility of wind noise pickup is higher than with smaller devices
Behind the Ear
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are worn by securing it behind the ear with an over-the-ear hook. A tube connects it to a bespoke ear mold placed snugly in the ear canal.
Anybody, regardless of age or degree of hearing loss, may benefit from using this kind of hearing aid.
What you can expect with BTE hearing aids:
- While smaller, more covert hearing aids have been the norm in recent years, devices of this size have been the standard for quite some time
- It has more potential for amplification than other genres
- Equipped with directional microphones
- A rechargeable battery may be included
- Compared to other forms of noise, wind noise may be picked up
Receiver in Canal or Receiver in the Ear
Similar to a behind-the-ear device, the RIC and RITE types of hearing aids contain a speaker or receiver in the ear canal. A thin cable, rather than tubing, connects the component that sits behind the ear to the audio system.
What you can expect with the best RIC hearing aids:
- Ear wax may impede sound transmission
- Discreetly attached behind the ears
- Rechargeable batteries might be an alternative
- Directional microphones built in
The open-fit hearing aid is a kind of hearing aid that fits behind the ear, in the ear canal, or in the ear itself.
It contains either a thin tube or a dome that sits in the ear canal to keep it open, letting in natural sound at low frequencies while amplifying higher ones.
To get the most out of this design, you should have some residual low-frequency hearing and mild to moderate high-frequency hearing loss.
What you can expect with open-fit hearing aids:
- The difficulty of fitting the dome into the ear canal may increase if it is not custom-made
- Unlike traditional in-the-ear hearing aids, this option allows ambient noise to pass through, possibly improving one's ability to understand one's own speech
Hearing Aids Near Me: Degree and Type of Hearing Loss
Choosing the right hearing aid often depends on the kind and severity of the hearing loss. Some people with severe or profound hearing loss may benefit from a more specialized hearing aid that is designed to amplify just the sounds that are most difficult for them to hear.
More choices exist, however, for those whose hearing loss is just mild to moderate.
Hearing Aids Near Me: Lifestyle
Think about the things you like to do in your spare time and the way you normally spend your days (or weeks). For those who like exercising in the great outdoors, the best waterproof hearing aids feel like a must-have accessory.
On the other hand, automatic sound adjustment is a good option if you often attend parties. To get the most out of your hearing aid, it's best if it fits in with your lifestyle.
Hearing Aids Near Me: Budget
Many people place a high priority on financial considerations when deciding to purchase a hearing aid. Health insurance or Medicare does not cover the full price of a hearing aid.
According to a poll done by our Reviews Team, pricing is the second most essential aspect for the majority of consumers searching for hearing aids, with the simplicity of setup and usage being the top concern. Even though 50% of the people surveyed had some kind of hearing loss, only 3.5% of them actually used hearing aids.
On October 17, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a regulation to enable the selling of less expensive hearing aids over the counter, without a prescription or an audiologist's assessment.
Hearing aids are already less costly than those provided via hearing clinics, but the new legislation is likely to substantially reduce pricing.
However, before buying any hearing aid, it is crucial to enquire about extra charges, such as fitting and maintenance.
Hearing Aids Near Me: Hearing Aid Company Websites
After you have settled on a price range and a chosen design for your hearing aids, it is a good idea to check over the websites of the various manufacturers you are considering. Several of these businesses have helpful internet resources detailing product specifications and pricing.
If you have any questions before making a purchase, you can always contact customer support for assistance.
Hearing Aids Near Me: Company Reputation and Reviews
Independent websites such as Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot may be checked to see what other customers have to say about a firm.
Reading customer reviews is crucial, but the Better Business Bureau (BBB) can provide you with a more comprehensive look at a company's reputation and help you choose whether or not to do business with them.
Since some businesses give incentives, such as free items, to consumers for writing nice ratings, customers may feel incentivized to only include positive remarks in reviews.
It might be hard to tell whether the reviews you're reading are legitimate. But, BBB does not rely only on user reviews when assigning ratings to businesses. BBB instead takes into account additional criteria, such as the following:
- Demonstrated ability to identify and resolve issues
- Repercussions from authorities or the law for the company's lack of required licenses and/or permits
- In-Depth Information about BBB Complaints
- How long they've been open for business
- Many levels of transparency (showing how the company does business)
Both the company's business rating and reviews are vital to evaluate when trying to establish the company's trustworthiness. If any of these is missing, potential customers will have an inaccurate impression of the company's reliability.
Hearing Aids Near Me: Customer Service Options
A brand's customer support and other resources are significant considerations when shopping for over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids online. Look for businesses that provide a variety of contact options, such as phone, email, and chat.
Hearing Aids Near Me: Customer-Friendly Policies
It is essential to think about the hearing aid warranty's quality while making a purchase. Before buying, make sure you check the warranty's duration and conditions. Moreover, find out whether the warranty can be extended and what the additional fees would be. A one to three-year warranty is standard fare, but not all firms are made equal.
Whereas the Jabra Enhance's three-year guarantee includes unlimited repairs, loss, and damage coverage, the Eargo warranty covers just one replacement throughout the one- to two-year warranty term, depending on the model.
Risk-Free Trial Periods
The availability of a no-risk trial period should be a major factor in your choice of a hearing aid provider. Most states mandate at least a 30-day free trial period for hearing aids.
The state regulations concerning hearing aid demo periods are compiled by the Hearing Loss Association of America. You have the option to return the hearing aids for a full or partial refund within this period.
Give yourself plenty of time to get used to your hearing aids and make the most of the specialist's help before making a decision.
You should think about exchanging the hearing aids for a new model or brand if you're still having trouble hearing with them or if they're causing you discomfort.
There may be fees for services such as cleaning, adjusting, and repairing hearing aids in addition to the cost of the devices themselves.
It's smart to check with your hearing aid retailer to see whether they provide a price lock guarantee, where they'll keep their prices the same for the term of your contract or the life of your hearing aids, whichever comes first.
Hearing Aids Near Me: Features To Look For in a Hearing Aid
It's just been around two decades, but hearing aids have come a long way in that time. Modern hearing aids come with a host of improvements over older models, including smaller and more discreet designs, rechargeable batteries, enhanced noise filtering, and Bluetooth connectivity to use for wireless audio streaming and app-based management.
It's important to see the value in these cutting-edge innovations since they may improve your life in important ways. To that end, let's take a closer look at these developments in hearing aid technology.
Rechargeable and disposable batteries are both accessible for use in hearing aids. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but most people who wear hearing aids prefer the convenience of rechargeable batteries.
Digital noise reduction is one of the most desired features, with rechargeable batteries coming in second.
Disposable battery variants are available from manufacturers like MDHearing, even though most hearing aids utilize rechargeable batteries. If a manufacturer doesn't say their hearing aids utilize rechargeable batteries, you may assume they come with single-use batteries.
The best rechargeable hearing aids are superior to those with standard batteries because they never run out of power. They may be charged overnight in the carrying case and then used the following day.
Most modern hearing aids can be used even if they become wet.
Although hearing aids may withstand splashes and rain, they are not totally waterproof and can be harmed by prolonged exposure to moisture. Hearing aids may be quite expensive to replace, so it's best to keep them out of the water whenever possible.
The Starkey firm recommends taking out hearing aids before swimming or other activities where they could be exposed to water for an extended period.
- Blow-drying your hair
- Working or exercising outside in hot weather
- Spraying your hair with hairspray or other products
- Showering or taking a bath
- Using a sauna
- Going to bed
With this innovation, users may transform their hearing aids into wireless headphones with just a touch of a button. The best Bluetooth hearing aids can seamlessly send and receive wireless signals and stream from other devices.
To communicate with one another, both gadgets need to be equipped with Bluetooth. If your TV and hearing aid both have Bluetooth, you may pair them by selecting the Bluetooth option on each.
This will allow you to connect to a television and listen using your hearing aids wirelessly. You may adjust the level of your hearing aids to your liking, even if you turn down the TV.
As Bluetooth is standard on modern mobile devices, you may even use your hearing aids to make and receive phone calls and even take part in video chats with friends and family.
One thing to know about Bluetooth: Knowing the difference between Bluetooth connection and Bluetooth streaming is crucial when it comes to hearing aids. Although hearing aids like the Eargo have Bluetooth connection, they don't have the streaming capability.
This implies that the hearing aids themselves cannot be used for media playback or phone conversations, but that they may be wirelessly connected to other devices like a charger or smartphone app.
That's why it's important to ask about the hearing aid's Bluetooth connectivity options before making a purchase.
The most up-to-date models of hearing aids allow you to make adjustments to the volume and listening profiles from the convenience of your smartphone, without ever touching the devices themselves.
Furthermore, some hearing aid manufacturers let audiologists link up with your devices and make changes to the distance between you and the sound source using their mobile app. If you're very familiar with the functions of your smartphone, this feature may be a welcome addition to your hearing aid.
Technology for Improved Listening Experience
Along with Bluetooth, some hearing aids offer the following advanced features:
- Automatic sound adjustments: Several hearing models enable users to adjust listening profiles based on their environment, while specialized hearing aids may modify the settings for them. For instance, the Eargo 6 comes with an automated environment-adapting feature called Sound Adjust. This makes for a really pleasant and easy listening experience.
- Background noise reduction: By cutting down on background noise, digital noise reduction hearing aids make it easier to focus on what's being spoken in close proximity.
According to the Reviews Team's poll, the ability to filter out unnecessary noise is the feature that attracts the greatest attention from potential buyers of hearing aids.
- Directional microphones. Microphones in hearing aids are angled and placed in such a way as to improve the detection of sounds coming from in front of the wearer while reducing the detection of noises coming from the sides or behind. As a bonus, some modern hearing aid models have directional microphones that improve clarity even amid background noise.
- Feedback cancellation: In the past, feedback—a whistling sound in the user's ear caused by the hearing aid—was a regular problem. Although older models suffered from this issue, modern ones have rectified it with a feedback cancellation option that is especially helpful while talking on the phone.
- Telecoil: T-coils, also known as telecoils, are a feature of hearing aids that allow them to communicate with other devices or buildings equipped with a specialized hearing aid technology called a hearing loop, such as theaters and places of worship. While telecoils can be added to many modern hearing aids, their tiny size means they may not be included in completely-in-canal models.
Certain versions of hearing aids allow for complete personalization to accommodate the unique requirements of each user by taking into account their unique degree of hearing loss.
This is a major perk of getting your hearing checked and your hearing aids from a professional audiologist's clinic.
A professional may be able to determine the true cause of your hearing loss and give you more tailored treatment choices with an in-person assessment as opposed to the best online hearing tests.
Some of the best over the counter hearing aids are fully customizable, while others have adjustable hearing settings dependent on the listener's surroundings.
Audiologists recommend cleaning hearing aids regularly, but the specifics of how often and what kind of cleaning is needed might vary from one device to another.
Because of the increased exposure to moisture in the ear canal, in-canal hearing aids need more frequent and thorough cleanings than receiver-in-canal devices. While not in use, hearing aids should be stored in a cool, dry place.
While planning a financial strategy for purchasing hearing aids, it is wise to inquire of the maker the frequency with which tips, earwax guards, and batteries must be replaced, as well as the cost of maintenance.
Hearing Aid Accessories
You may need a different set of extras for the hearing aid you choose. While many extras are free with the purchase of a gadget, you may have to shell out cash for others if the need arises.
There are a plethora of options for purchasing hearing aid accessories online. Many of the most common add-ons for hearing aids are listed here.
- Charging case: The batteries in hearing aids may be recharged
- Replacement domes: While using this item, make sure that your hearing aid has a soft, removable tip
- Wax guards: Earwax may create serious problems for hearing aids, hence this accessory is often provided with ITE and CIC hearing devices
Hearing Aids Near Me: Getting Used To Your Hearing Aid
Adjusting to a hearing aid is a process, and your hearing will improve gradually as you become used to the amplification. One's own voice will also change in tone while using a hearing aid. When you first start using a hearing aid, keep these things in mind.
- Hearing aids won't return your hearing to normal. There is no way for hearing aids to entirely fix a person's hearing loss. On the contrary, they may improve one's hearing by magnifying quiet noises.
- Allow time to get used to the hearing aid. Acclimating to amplified sounds with a new hearing aid may take some time, but regular use might help speed up the process. Have patience and keep at it since this will take some time.
- Practice using the hearing aid in different environments. The amplification of sound you experience will change based on where you are.
- Seek support and try to stay positive. Your new hearing aid can only help you if you put in the time to practice with it and have the encouragement of loved ones.
You may also find it helpful to join a support group specifically for individuals who have hearing loss or are using hearing aids for the first time.
- Go back for a follow-up. Specialists may decide to add the cost of additional follow-up appointments to their initial estimates. It is highly advised that you schedule these appointments so that any adjustments can be made and your new hearing aid may be tested for proper operation. Making sure it serves your needs well is crucial.
It's important to wear your hearing aids regularly and have them serviced so they can function properly. Moreover, an audiologist can keep you abreast of the most recent hearing aids and gadgets and help you fine-tune them to your specific needs.
The goal is to locate a hearing aid that works well with your ears and voice and allows you to communicate more effectively.
Questions To Ask When Shopping for Hearing Aids Near You
When you're buying hearing aids online or in-person, the following questions are important to ask.
Does the Company Sell Online or In-person?
Certain hearing aids, which you can get without a prescription, can only be bought online. Our top pick is Widex, but there are also brands you can only get via audiologist-run clinics like Starkey as well as those that offer both in-store and online shopping like Audicus.
Can I Get a Free Trial Period for a Hearing Aid?
While trial periods for hearing aids are required in most states, they are not always mandated.
You should find out the hearing aid company's stance on free trials or money-back guarantees before purchasing to give yourself enough time to acclimate to the new devices.
If I Need Help Adjusting My Hearing Device, How Can I Reach Customer Support?
Customers should be aware of the many means through which they may contact a firm for help, such as in-person visits, telephone calls, and virtual channels like online chat and email. The knowledge of this is essential for the consumers.
What Type of Warranty Does the Company Offer?
Find out whether the hearing aid's warranty may be extended and how much that would cost you. Also, specify which fixes, losses, and replacements are covered by the guarantee.
Conclusion: Hearing Aids Near Me
We have produced a list of our recommended manufacturers and models of hearing aids in case you are looking for them in your area.
- Widex - Best hearing aids overall
- Oticon - Best Bluetooth hearing aids
- MDHearing - Best rechargeable hearing aids
- Audien - Best invisible hearing aids
- Phonak - Easiest to use hearing aids
- Jabra Enhance - Best digital hearing aids
- Starkey - Best tinnitus hearing aids
- Eargo - Best OTC digital hearing aids
- Audicus - Most affordable digital hearing aids