Hearing aids can be expensive, setting you back a pretty penny in your bankbook. But there are over 48 million people in America alone that suffer from some form of hearing loss. And unfortunately, not all of them can carry the weight of the heavy price tag. In return, they suffer in silence, not being able to afford quality hearing aids. So what can you do about this? There are cheaper hearing aids available. The problem is, most people are very concerned about their quality. But does lower price mean lower quality? Let’s take a look at the difference between expensive vs. cheap hearing aids.
Why can hearing aids be expensive?
Before we get into the differences between expensive and cheaper hearing aids, let’s first talk about why hearing aids cost what they do. This is a question that is difficult to answer, and even the experts can’t give a definitive response. With that said, it’s similar to the situation with other medical equipment because the companies making them need the funds to invest in improvements, and need to cover the fees associated with highly trained audiologists. The cost of the components and the manufacturing process are not cheap either.
What goes into a hearing aid?
Before we talk more about the differences between expensive and cheap hearing aids, let’s talk about the hearing aid in general.
There are three basic parts that you will find in a hearing aid, regardless of price. These include the microphone, the amplifier, and the speaker. To put things simply, sound gets received through the microphone. This sound is then transmitted into electrical signals, which are then sent to the amplifier. The amplifier then increases the power of the signals and sends them into the ear through the speaker. And that’s how the basic hearing aid works. But because everyone’s ear is different, the aids need to pick and choose which frequencies need to be amplified. Then they need to amplify them to the necessary loudness. Even the most basic, or cheapest, of hearing aids can perform all of these functions.
Expensive vs. Cheap hearing aids
Now we can get into the details of more expensive vs. cheaper hearing aids. To understand the difference, we need to look at which each type can do.
Cheap hearing aids
If you want to buy cheap hearing aids, your going to get the very basic of styles. As we mentioned above, even the most basic hearing aids can perform all of the functions previously listed. In other words, they can pick and choose appropriate frequencies and amplify them to the necessary noise level. In other words, even the cheapest, most basic hearing aids will help you to hear better. So if cost is your main concern, cheap style hearing aids could be a choice for you.
Having said that, cheaper hearing aids are generally designed for mild to moderate degrees of hearing loss. If you are in more advanced stages, you might need to invest in more powerful hearing aids. Unfortunately, these will be more expensive.
Expensive hearing aids
If your insurance will cover them, more expensive hearing aids can provide you with greater functionality. Expensive hearing aids can do everything cheap hearing aids can do, plus a lot more. Firstly, more expensive hearing aids have greater amplification power. In return, even those with severe hearing loss can benefit. More expensive hearing aids may also offer additional functions like:
- Background noise reduction features. – To make conversation easier by reducing background noises.
- Automated directional microphones. – To help identify which direction sounds are coming from.
- Digitial feedback reduction. – To help reduce high pitched whistling sounds present in some hearing aids.
- Multiple memories. – To enhance sounds in different listening environments.
- Self learning features. – This feature will allow the hearing aid to pick up on your common habits, so that the aid can automatically perform certain functions on its own.
- Data logging. – To record information like how often aids are worn, which programs are being used, and how often volume gets increased or decreased.
- Telephone adaptation. – To make speaking on the telephone easier for those with hearing impairments.
- Wireless and Bluetooth connectivity. – To receive sounds from Bluetooth transmitters.
- Remote controls. – To control different programs and/or volume levels with a remote.
Of course, these are just a few of the many different features that are offered with hearing aids. As technology becomes more advanced, so do the features offered to the hearing impaired. Unfortunately, features like these come with a price tag. You will only find more advanced features such as those listed above on more advanced (and expensive) hearing aids. Cheaper hearing aids, unfortunately, will not offer these functions.
But whether you are buying expensive hearing aids or cheap hearing aids, there are a few rules that you should know when making your decision. Here are a few tips to help you purchase your new hearing aids:
1) Watch for scams
Cheap, effective hearing aids do exist, but you need to be careful who you buy them from. Remember, you are only saving money if the hearing aids actually work. If they don’t, you’re just throwing money away. Use your gut instinct. You can find cheap hearing aids, but if a deal seems way too good to be true, it probably is.
2) Check your insurance policies
Most insurance policies don’t cover hearing aids, but some do. It’s definitely worth the time to check to see if yours does. Even if your policy only covers half the cost of the aids, that’s still saving you a ton of money. It might even make the difference in whether you can afford cheap hearing aids, or upgrade to more expensive ones.
3) Remember, you don’t have to pay the big bucks to hear better
Cheap hearing aids do exist. You might not get all of the bells and whistles with them, but at the very least, they can effectively help you hear better. Always remember that when you buy cheaper hearing aids, you aren’t necessarily giving up the quality of the aid. Cheap hearing aids can be just as high quality as more expensive ones, they just don’t come with all of the same glamorous features. Talk with your audiologist and get a hearing test to find out more!