Making Sense of Hearing Aid Reviews
Purchasing a hearing aid can feel overwhelming at first. You might be unsure about what type of hearing aid you need, where you should buy it, and what features to look for. As you begin your research, you will likely be looking for hearing aid reviews to help guide you as you make your decision.
First of all, you should give yourself a big pat on the back for simply beginning the process of buying a hearing aid! Even though about 28.8 million Americans could benefit from the use of a hearing aid, the truth is that most don't have or don't use them. For example, among adults in the 70+ age range, only 1 in 3 with hearing loss actually wear hearing aids. And when it comes to younger adults in need of hearing aids, the percentage is even lower. Only 16% of adults aged 20-69 with hearing loss actually use hearing aids. It's tragic when you consider all those who could benefit from the gift of hearing — living their lives to the fullest and listening to the world as it's meant to be heard — but are instead living with hearing loss that negatively impacts their relationships, work, and well-being.
But that's where Lively — and their team of doctors and technologists, on a mission to provide advanced hearing aids with the world's most convenient care — comes in!
What to look for in a hearing aid
Before you begin looking at hearing aid reviews and considering different retailers, you should understand a few basic things about your hearing loss. Knowing the answers to these questions will help you figure out which hearing aid retailers are the right fit for you:
What degree of hearing loss do you have?
If you have mild to moderately severe hearing loss, you will have more options when it comes to hearing aids, including digital hearing aids that connect to an app on your phone, and hearing aids from online retailers, which tend to be less expensive. You'll want to reach out directly to a hearing aid retailer like Lively, which provides a consultation to help you determine the extent of your hearing loss and whether their product is right for you, or try a convenient online hearing test first.
What is your budget?
Unfortunately, most health insurances don't cover the cost of hearing aids, or don't cover them fully. Although hearing aids are a great investment in your overall health, well-being, and happiness, there are associated costs. Be mindful of your budget but don't be penny-wise and pound foolish: typically choosing a high quality hearing aid that will last years is recommended and preferred by hearing aid users. Before shopping, you'll need to have an understanding of what you are able to spend on your hearing. Many hearing aids cost more than $2500 per ear. Buying hearing aids online from a reputable company like Lively can cost you as little as $1650— for both ears.
What is your lifestyle like?
Other important questions to ask yourself include whether you want to visit an audiologist each time your hearing aid needs adjustment, or if you are comfortable with a company that offers virtual consultations (via video or phone). Do you feel comfortable with hearing aids that pair with an easy-to-use app on your phone? These hearing aids tend to have more options, but they are a more fully-featured choice for those who have experience with smartphones.
Questions about hearing aid reviews
Once you decide what kind of retailer you are interested in purchasing your hearing aid from, you can start combing through hearing aid reviews. Most hearing aid manufacturers have reputable-looking websites that offer customer reviews of hearing aids. You can also find hearing aid reviews on consumer review sites, Google, and even on social media.
What to look for in a hearing aid review:
1. Where are these reviews coming from?
You'll want to make sure the reviews are coming from actual customers, not a third party site. You can usually tell if a review is authentic when the review is honest, balanced, and draws from personal experience. Reviews that sound like a sales pitch are usually red flags that the review might not be credible.
2. Are the reviews balanced?
If a reviewer reports that their hearing loss was "cured immediately" upon using the hearing aid, and that the user now has flawless hearing, you might want to take this testimonial with a grain of salt. Although there can be immediate improvements in your hearing, hearing aids do take some time to get used to, and although they can improve your hearing, relationships, well-being, and overall lifestyle, there is a learning curve for using them. You'll want to see that kind of honestly reflected when deciding what reviews to trust.
3. What do the reviewers say about customer service?
When you are learning to use your hearing aid, it's natural to need some help along the way. Hearing aids sometimes need to be adjusted, and it can take some time to get used to new technology. That's why you'll want to pick a hearing aid company that offers stellar customer service. If you notice reviewers describing excellent care and attention given, you should take this as a very good sign.
4. Does the product do its job?
Obviously, at the end of the day, you'll want a product that works! Hearing aids should work well and reliably. You want to be able to trust that your hearing aid will work well enough that you eventually don't notice it. People who have high-quality hearing aids will often describe the many ways hearing aids improve their everyday lives. Reading these stories can be inspiring, and they can also give you confidence that you've found the right product for you.
The Bottom Line
Making the decision to purchase a hearing aid is a commendable one. You will have a lot to think about as you begin the process— namely, precisely what it is you're looking for in a hearing aid —but help is out there when you're making your decision. Some reputable companies, like Lively, will offer to answer your questions even before you make your purchase, and you should take them up on that offer. Reading customer reviews is also a great way to vet a company and their product in order to understand exactly whether it's the right match for you and your unique needs.
You should take your time as you make your decision, and keep your end goal in sight: better hearing and improved quality of life.