Shopping for a Hearing Aid
Before you buy any product to enhance your hearing, it’s important to know what to consider when you’re shopping so you get the product that’s most appropriate for your hearing loss.
Before You Buy
- Get an ear examination from a medical doctor.
- If the medical evaluation identifies a hearing loss, see a licensed audiologist or hearing aid specialist.
- Individuals who test and fit hearing aids must have a license.
- Verify licensing status by calling the Board for Hearing Aid Specialists and Opticians at 804-367-8509 or visit Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation .
- Contact the Fairfax County Consumer Affairs Branch for complaint history information about hearing aid specialists, businesses selling hearing aids, and manufacturers of hearing aids.
- Compare all tests given to you by a hearing aid provider with the medical evaluation from your doctor or audiologist.
- If the report from the hearing aid business differs from your doctor’s report, get guidance from your doctor before you purchase a hearing device.
- Before you buy, read the store policy and find out about any fees or charges you may have to pay if you return the device.
Find a Provider
- Beware of advertisements for “Free Hearing Tests” and requirements to sign a medical waiver. If you respond, be prepared for high pressure sales.
- Don’t rely on tests and reports provided for free or at in-store demonstrations.
- Find out if the provider will be available to make adjustments based on real-life experiences on the devices.
- Shop more than one manufacturer and more than one store.
- Find a store that provides a variety of styles and brands so you can compare prices, models, and manufacturers.
- Prices between stores can differ by hundreds of dollars for the same model and manufacturer.
- Get a copy of the warranty and read it carefully to understand what repairs or problems are covered.
- Find out about hearing aid insurance that covers damage or loss to your device and compare the cost of the insurance to the price of the device.
- Check your homeowner or renter’s insurance policy to verify whether your device is covered under your existing policy. You may be able to purchase a floater policy which is less expensive than an add-on manufacturer’s policy.
After You Buy
- Make sure your device works and that it fits comfortably.
- Have the hearing aid specialist perform testing before and after fittings.
- Ask the hearing aid specialist for training and be sure you address all concerns during the trial period.
- Take the hearing aid to your audiologist within the trial period to verify that it has been properly fitted and correctly meets your needs.
- In Virginia, consumers have a 30-day trial period and can return the hearing aid for any reason within this time frame.
- This right must be explained by the hearing aid specialist and provided to you in writing in at least 10-point, bold-faced type.
- This protection is subject to the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.
- Under the Virginia Assistive Technology Device Warranties Act, manufacturers must make a reasonable attempt to repair the device within the first year after the date of the first delivery.
- After three or more attempted repairs for the same problem, the manufacturer may accept the return of the device and refund the money or replace the device with another one within 30 days.
- If you have a problem you are unable to resolve directly with a merchant, Consumer Affairs provides voluntary mediation and arbitration at no charge.
- Consumers may also request legal assistance from Legal Services of Northern Virginia by calling 703-504-9141, or seek private counsel.
- Complaints regarding Hearing Aid Specialist may be filed with the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.
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