by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A lady asked:
If one likes one’s hearing aids perfectly fine, does one really need to try different kinds? I’ve been reading the hearing aid forums, and I feel almost embarrassed that I went to the audiologist, bought very expensive hearing aids, and headed out into the world. I’ve worn contact lenses for thirty years and have never once cost compared different brands, or tried multiple brands to see if there’s a difference, unless I was having a specific problem. Did I make a mistake?
Think of it this way. Say you were buying your first car. You go to the Ford dealership (since it is nearby) and let a salesman talk you into a particular model. You take it for a test drive, decide you are perfectly happy with it, and buy it.
What you’re asking is, “Did I make a mistake?” The only way you’ll ever know is to shop around. You may find that another make or model of car has a feature you particularly like, and now you wish you hadn’t been so hasty.
That is why it is better to shop around first—test drive various makes and models so you get a feel for what suits you the best.
Hearing aids are much like that. You may have lucked out and got an excellent fit for your hearing loss—and thus shopping around won’t find you a better fit. That’s ok. The thing is, you are happy and can hear under most conditions.
However, you’ll never know if another make or model of hearing aid would have sounded more natural, or would have compressed loud sounds better, or was not as susceptible to wind noise, or had controls that were easier to use, etc. unless you have tried them. Thus it is wise to shop around before deciding on a specific hearing aid, even if you just try 2 or 3 other hearing aids.
Did you make a mistake? If you are happy with your hearing aids and they work well for you, I’d say not. However, you possibly could have made an even better choice if you had shopped around. Next time I recommend you shop and compare before you buy. Many audiologists carry several lines of hearing aids so you can try them right there in her office.