We love seeing our patients, and it thrills us to see so many people being proactive about their hearing health. Their families are happier for it too.

One of our favorite things about hearing treatment is that there are so many options available for finding the perfect hearing treatment for each individual’s needs.

Considering that only 1 in 4 people currently chooses to treat a hearing loss, part of our job is to encourage those numbers to change so that far more people can enjoy an independent lifestyle again, thanks to the right hearing treatment plan.

This is why we have developed the thoughts below about the online option for buying hearing aids from companies such as Jabra or other over-the-counter hearing device stores.

Why do some people choose buying their hearing aids online over visiting their local hearing care professional?

I feel that there are a few reasons that people seek out hearing healthcare online.

  • Initially, it may be out of They can seek out help from behind their computer, in the privacy of their own home, without having to speak to a secretary to schedule an appointment and run the risk of running into someone they know at the hearing healthcare practitioner’s office.
  • There is still a stigma of “old age” attached to hearing loss, and many people are not yet ready to admit to someone’s face that they have a problem and are not ready to admit they may be aging.
  • The next group of people seeking out help online are those seeking They may have busy schedules and may not have the time to make an appointment during regular business hours.

Internet purchasing allows them to take care of themselves on their timeline, whether that be late at night, early in the morning, or on the weekend.

They can order devices whenever they want and don’t have to wait until an appointment is available, and they don’t have to go to an office for several pre-and post-fitting visits.

  • The last reason would be Online hearing healthcare often appears less costly, as you only see the cost of the hearing devices.

There are no fitting fees or services needed, therefore no costs involved. This will save the consumer on upfront costs. The concern here is many, if not most, of our patients are unable to move forward without assistance in fitting and follow up.

 

The Cons Of Buying Hearing Aids Online

In my opinion, the risks are many.

  • By not seeing a hearing healthcare practitioner for the initial testing, you run the risk of overfitting or underfit.

If you are not using the correct prescription to fit the hearing devices, your experience can be less than desirable and, in some instances, dangerous to your residual hearing.

It would be no different from being fit with glasses with someone else’s prescription.

  • Another risk is for those who are not tech-savvy. Many of our patients struggle initially with how to use their devices, how to insert their devices, and, especially, how to utilize the technology involved with their devices, such as the smartphone app.

To be expected to do this with little to no instruction when purchasing devices online is unrealistic.

  • The risk here is if someone tries devices and struggles significantly and then decides, based on this struggle, that hearing aids just aren’t for them. They will continue to live in a world of silence rather than seeking out appropriate help.

Studies have shown that continuing to live without utilizing necessary hearing devices could lead to an increased risk of cognitive decline, fall risk, and social isolation. 

  

My Thoughts On Listen Lively

There are so many individuals with a hearing loss who are not seeking help for various reasons that I think there is a place in the industry for Listen Lively. There are people who could benefit from their model from a convenience and cost factor.

Any means that will allow more people to get help is something that I feel is a benefit.

However, I simply wish they followed best practices and required a legitimate audiological evaluation prior to fitting the devices so they can be certain the prescription is appropriate for the individual being fit.

Also, perhaps a prescreening should be conducted to assess a person regarding their ability to utilize the app and follow their process so they can see if this would be a good fit for the person.

If someone is not going to do well, they may be better suited for a more traditional method of obtaining their hearing devices.

The worst thing that could happen is a person becomes convinced that hearing devices aren’t the answer for them when in reality, they may be in need of a more hands-on process to ensure their success.

Watch The Private Practice Versus Listen Lively video created by Dr. Mangrem

I initially thought Dr. Mangrem was a bit crazy for taking on this project, not knowing what the outcome could be. But after watching this, it gives me hope that patients will always need hearing care professionals to assist them with their hearing needs, to some extent.

It also makes me realize that perhaps consumers desire some difference in how we do things, and there are changes that can be made to my current practice model that can make our care more accessible for more people.

I don’t feel threatened by the changes that are happening in the hearing healthcare world; I feel invigorated, as change and progress are good.

Change and progress often challenge us to improve and make things better, which is a win/win for the patient and the practitioner.

If You Are Considering Buying Hearing Aids Online

My biggest piece of advice is do your research!

  1. Make an appointment with a local audiologist who comes highly recommended by friends, family, or your physician. Have them perform an audiological evaluation and make some recommendations.

You can book an appointment with us via this online form, or call one of the numbers below.

  1. Discuss with them what you are looking for and what your concerns are, and tell them that you are looking at all options, including online retailers. This will allow them to have an open and honest discussion with you.
  2. If you do decide to go the online route, see if a local practitioner will work with you to be available to “adopt” you as a patient for the service and assistance that you will likely need along the way. Having someone you can work with locally will always be easier than having to mail your hearing devices back and forth.
  3. Last, if purchasing online, make sure you have appropriate warranties for hearing device repair, loss, and damage. I have had patients who purchased online only to find out that either the warranty was null and void because the manufacturer would not honor it.

The seller was not an authorized seller or the warranty was not honored here in the US. The aids were originally purchased to be sold overseas and therefore not recognized by the manufacturer in the US.

These are all problems that will affect the patient along the way and, unfortunately, things I’ve seen happen.

Just like with any purchase, being an educated consumer is key. Most audiologists would be happy to work with you to educate you and be of assistance to you along your hearing healthcare journey.

Come See Us!

Schedule an appointment with one of our audiologists for a hearing test or so you can ask all your questions about hearing treatment options. Choose the center nearest you.

Fall River Hearing Center, (508) 674-3334, Hyannis Hearing Center, (508) 862-0255, Dartmouth Hearing Center 508-910-2221.

Or fill out the online booking form for a comprehensive hearing assessment.

We look forward to getting you started on your hearing journey.

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Nancy Duncan, Au.D.

Dr. Duncan’s Southcoast roots run deep, establishing a special connection to the community where she practices. A homegrown product, she graduated from Somerset High, just across the Taunton from Fall River, and received her B.S. in communication disorders and psychology from Worcester State College. Her master of science in audiology was awarded at the University of Arkansas in 1997, after which she worked for several private audiology practices in Arkansas, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.