As Seen on TV Hearing Aids
One of the most common questions I’m asked is if those as-seen-on-tv hearing aids are any good. There are several different types of hearing aids that are advertised on TV and in catalogs as a one-size-fits-all solution, but how effective are they? The answer- not very effective. However, if it is all you can afford or you just need something “quick and dirty” to get the job done- it will be a decent amplifier for you, but not without some serious drawbacks and potentially very damaging results to your hearing.
The problem with as-seen-on-tv and mail order hearing aids is that they are one-size-fits-all, meaning, they are not customized to your hearing loss at all. Hearing loss is such a personalized problem that is very difficult to apply a one-size-fits-all mentality to fixing the problem. It’s a bit like ordering eyeglasses for yourself having never had an eye exam. You have no idea what you need and what will help you the most, and there’s a chance that whatever you get could make your situation even worse.
Aside from the hearing aids just generally not sounding good (because they are not fine tuned to your hearing loss), you’re likely to run in to a few additional problems if you purchase as-seen-on-tv hearing aids. Number 1, they are not going to fit right. Because it is one-size-fits-all, chances are the hearing aid is not going to fit very well at all, and as a result will be very noticeable and downright unappealing to wear. In addition, you’re probably going to have issues with the hearing aid falling out of your ear, since it won’t sit perfectly as a custom molded aid would.
One of the biggest problem with as-seen-on-tv hearing aids is the issue of feedback. You know that annoying whistling sound that you’ll sometimes hear from hearing aids? Chances are, if the hearing aid is making those noises, it has not been fine-tuned to that individuals hearing loss very well. When a hearing aid is fit in person and adjusted on a computer, you can be assured that there will be very little if any feedback. When you get one through the mail or TV and just kinda “slap it on”, it’s very prone to feedback and will likely whistle a lot because it has not been fine-tuned to your hearing loss.
Lastly, the majority of these devices are built very poorly. Their parts break down and stop working for no reason, battery life tends to be very short, and warranties on these products are non-existent. This is not to rag on all as-seen-on-tv devices, some of them, like the Songbird are actually pretty good, but then again, they are priced quite a bit higher than typical as-seen-on-tv hearing aids. Once you’re paying $1,000 for mail order or as-seen-on-tv aids, you have to start thinking about just buying very low-end custom hearing instruments and getting them programmed from a local hearing provider, because it will only be a little more expensive and your results should be much better.
The bottom line is, if all you can afford is a gizmo from your local drugstore or something that you saw on TV, then go for it. Be careful not to turn it up to loud and be sure to slowly let your brain adapt to hearing new sounds. If however, your intention is to just use one of those as a “crutch” until you’re ready to bite the bullet and purchase actual customized hearing aids, I’d recommend not buying them, as you will be underwhelmed at their effectiveness and probably dissuaded from exploring further options which could help you much more.
If you’d like a free phone consultation with a licensed hearing provider, please feel free to call us at 800-731-6794.