Why shouldn’t I buy hearing aids from Big Box Stores?


Susan L Fenrich, BC-HIS*

A hearing care provider may have told you that you should not buy hearing aids from Big Box stores. At the risk of calling your attention to some of the competition, I feel it is important to educate you on this subject because there is so much about wearing hearing aids that you may not already know.

Photo credit: calgrin from morguefile.com

Your hearing is one of the most important senses that you have. When it comes to buying hearing aids, you should take the time to find the best hearing aid that will meet your hearing needs. Too often people with hearing loss will shop around to find the best deal they can find. What they don’t realize is that price should not be the most important factor when choosing your hearing aid provider.

1) Hearing Aids are medical devices that you wear in part of your body. They need to be precisely tuned for your hearing loss and hearing needs. Quite often during the period of hearing aid acclimation it may take several trips to the hearing care provider. It is necessary to make sure you are hearing the best possible way for your hearing loss and listening environments. One also needs to make sure the hearing aids are physically comfortable during this time. You may want to consider the store hours and how far you have to drive to your hearing care provider for this service. Your hearing care provider should be an expert in their field. How many years have they been licensed? You can look up the providers credentials at the State of Wisconsin Department of Safety & Professional Services’ website at:   https://app.wi.gov/licensesearch.

2) There are many manufacturers of hearing aids. Big Box stores offer limited styles and limited brands. They are often stripped down versions of similar models that are available from an independent provider. Like a franchised hearing aid provider, you will not have all the technology options available; therefore you may not be given the best choice available for your hearing loss. When you purchase hearing aids you want to make sure you can get the best hearing aids for your hearing loss, lifestyle, and budget.

3) Quite often the hearing aids sold at big box stores cannot be taken to your local, independent provider for service. This is a real problem when you need emergency service before a big event and have to rely on store hours or have to drive several miles for service. This is also the same as providers that have limited hours like a medical clinic. Hearing aids do need service, and sometimes more often than we would like. They are in your ears and subject to your body chemistry. Earwax, and body oils will cause them to fail. They are small electronic devices, and without regular care, repairs will be necessary. You want to make sure that your hearing care provider offers emergency service. They should also provide loaner hearing aids when your aids need to go to the manufacturer for repair. Good service is the most important part of choosing a hearing aid provider.

4) Hearing aids are a financial investment. You want to make sure you are getting the best product that you can afford, with the best service possible. Don’t let the prices you hear from others scare you away! Just because someone was quoted $10,000 elsewhere, does not mean that all hearing aids are priced that high.   Going to a big box store may save you money upfront. But when you have to drive further away for necessary emergency service and preventive maintenance, the money spent on gas and lost time ads up.  There are many ways to make hearing aids affordable. Although few insurance plans pay for hearing aids, some offer discount plans. Financing options are available. For those with limited or low income, there are organizations that help provide hearing aids. No person should be left behind.

Now that you have all the facts, you can make an educated decision when deciding who your hearing aid provider should be.  Welsch Hearing Aid Company has been serving the area for over 50 years. Call 920-395-3101 today for all your hearing aid needs.