Choice is a great thing, and today we have a world of it at our fingertips. With the advent of the Internet, you can now purchase products or services from just about any manufacturer around the globe. One of the more recent product entrants into online purchasing has been hearing aids.
If you had hearing loss in the days before the internet and online shopping, you would see a hearing specialist who would either sell directly to you or recommend a qualified hearing aid dispenser. You would choose or be directed to what they provided that matched your needs, from their limited selection. They would provide fitting and aftercare, becoming a trusted associate. Rarely would they be located beyond your area or zip code.
Online shopping has changed the landscape, your choices, even the quality of your care. You’re hearing aid product choices are satisfied by just searching in your browser but it has also created a disconnect between sales and service. On the one side are online hearing aid retailers with a wide array of product choices with varying levels of commitment to your needs. On the other are your local hearing specialists, with limited hearing aid inventory but with a desire to help.
The best of online hearing aid dispensers are those professional sites with a commitment to hearing aid selection, hearing aid setup and product support tailored for your needs.
Qualified hearing aid specialists will:
- Ask for your audiogram and will refuse to sell you a unit without programming
- Provide phone or email consultations with the client to discuss best options
- A defined path of customer service to ensure the best possible satisfaction with your hearing aid right out of the box
- Finally a standard of client support with service and repairs will be established
The worst of online sales are what we already know to be true. Anyone can setup an online storefront to sell you a hearing aid at “too good to be true” prices. And they usually are. To make the sale, they forego the aftercare service and only take basic responsibility to get you the product, leaving you the task of fitting and setup. At best you are left to your own resources and end up visiting a local hearing aid specialist to get your device up to specifications. At worst you use a unit that’s not set up for you and damage what is left of your hearing.
So where does your local hearing aid specialist fall in this new digital landscape? If you have chosen a quality online provider, they may refer you to someone local for urgent work that can’t wait for the round trip to the service center. If you purchased your hearing aid from a cut rate online provider, these dedicated professionals will assist you as best they can. Services that were once complimentary with purchase are now, unfortunately, itemized and chargeable, and in many cases will negate the online savings.
In the online hearing aid world, look for sales and service first, then look at price. Selecting a quality provider who will back up their products will save you money in the long run. Shop wisely, and know that hearing specialists are here to help.