How to Find a Good Hearing Provider
We've learned how to spot good hearing providers from a mile away—now use some of our tips!
Ask any experienced hearing aid wearer and they’re likely to agree-
Finding a good hearing provider is the single most important part of the hearing aid buying process.
Find a good audiologist or hearing aid dispenser, and your investment in hearing aids has the potential to be one of the most life changing purchases you’ve ever made.
On the other hand, choose the wrong hearing provider, and your hearing aids could end up being a colossal waste of money.
The importance of choosing a good hearing provider can’t be overstated.
However, as a first time hearing aid wearer, it’s hard to know what to look for in a hearing provider, and if you do a web search for “how to find a good hearing provider,” you’re likely to find the same tired advice recycled on every blog post.
In this post, we want to go a bit deeper, and provide some insider tips to help you get this decision right.
Top 5 Tips for Finding a Good Hearing Provider
As with choosing any service provider, do your basic due diligence.
Visit their website. Read their reviews. Check their credentials.
Once you have a small list of providers to consider, think about “layering” on the below criteria to further narrow your list.
1. Contact the provider afterhours to gauge their responsiveness
Response times, especially at the outset of a relationship when you are considering spending money, are a great indicator of how responsive and organized a hearing provider is.
Consider sending the business a message through their website, or leaving a voicemail, afterhours. If it takes the business a few business days to respond, this is a decent indicator that they may not be the most efficiently-run organization.
Why is this important?
When you buy hearing aids from a provider, you are beginning a multi-year relationship with them. Anytime you need a service appointment in the future, or need a repair done, or for anything else that may come up, you want a provider that is responsive and can get you an appointment quickly.
Ultimately, working with an efficient and responsive hearing provider means more days with better hearing- as opposed to days waiting for appointments or repairs.
We know- this tip seems odd.
The reason we have to include it, is because (without exception), it’s been our experience that responsive and well-organized hearing providers are rated much higher in terms of overall satisfaction by our customers.
2. If you know the model you want, ask the hearing aid manufacturer for a recommendation
In every locale, there is usually at least one hearing provider who is considered the “strongest” provider in the area for any particular brand.
The manufacturers know who these providers are, and if you contact them and ask for a referral, they’ll give you the names of these providers.
If a provider comes recommended from the manufacturer, you can be pretty confident that that provider is well-versed on that particular brand, probably fits it almost exclusively, and with a high success rate.
3. Choose a provider that works with multiple brands
If you’re not sure of the hearing aid(s) you want, it’s best to work with a hearing provider who is comfortable fitting multiple brands.
No hearing aid manufacturer builds the best hearing aid for everyone’s needs. Certain manufacturers are a better choice for some people than others.
If your hearing provider is well-versed on more than one brand, it’s a good indication that they’re up to speed on the latest technology available, which ultimately means you’re more likely to get the perfect hearing aid(s) for your specific needs.
Many hearing providers that work with multiple brands will advertise this information on their website. If they don’t, it doesn’t hurt to contact the provider (consider doing along with tip #1), and inquire as to the brands the provider works with routinely.
4. Find a provider that follows best practices
There are many “best practices” in hearing healthcare.
For example, your hearing test should be conducted in a soundproof booth or room.
It’s also important that the provider uses some kind of fitting verification, like real ear measurement, to ensure the hearing aids are appropriately amplifying sound for your specific needs.
You can find lists of these best practices online, but you should know that opinions vary (even among doctorate-level audiologists), as to the importance of some of these best practices.
5. Get a referral from a third party service
Third party referral services (like ZipHearing), which maintain a database of reviews on providers nationwide, can refer you to a reputable hearing provider in your community.
An added benefit of using a referral service is they’ll also help you secure competitive pricing on hearing aids.
Keep in mind
There are always outliers- exceptions to the rule.
As helpful as we’ve found some of the above tips to be, you can’t discount the importance of some of the soft skills a provider may have, like empathy, compassion, a warm personality, and how you feel when you’re with them.
If you feel they’ve demonstrated their expertise, and that your hearing care is their utmost priority, it may not matter if they don’t “check all the boxes.”
Rest assured that when you buy hearing aids, you’ll almost always have a trial period, so if you think you may have bought from the wrong hearing provider, you’re usually entitled to a refund if the aids are returned within a certain window of time.