Hearing loss is a common condition that affects thousands of Australians.
For those experiencing hearing difficulties, hearing aids can be a valuable tool to improve their quality of life.
As technology continues to advance, the option to purchase hearing aids online has become increasingly popular. However, with convenience comes caution. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of buying hearing aids online in Perth to help you make an informed decision about your hearing health.
Let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of this approach, and also explore the benefits of the more traditional, in-person purchase experience with local hearing aid providers in Perth.
Pros of Buying Hearing Aids Online
✔ Convenience and Accessibility: One of the most significant advantages of purchasing hearing aids online is the convenience it offers. With a few clicks, you can browse through a wide range of hearing aid options, like invisible hearing aids, from the comfort of your own home, at any time of the day. This accessibility is especially beneficial for individuals with mobility challenges or those living in remote areas of Perth.
✔ Lower Prices: Online retailers often have lower overhead costs compared to brick-and-mortar stores. As a result, you may find hearing aids sold online at more competitive prices. Additionally, some online retailers offer discounts, promotions, and free shipping, further reducing the overall cost.
✔ Extensive Product Information: Reputable online stores provide detailed information about each hearing aid they sell. This includes technical specifications, features, customer reviews, and compatibility information. This abundance of data empowers you to compare different models and make an informed decision based on your specific needs. Buyers should remember that this information can also be obtained at their local Audiology Clinic, and specific questions can be answered by the qualified Audiologist.
✔ Privacy and Discretion: Some individuals may feel uncomfortable or self-conscious about purchasing hearing aids in person. Buying online offers a level of privacy and discretion that can be comforting to those who value it.
Cons of Buying Hearing Aids Online
✘ Lack of Professional Guidance: Perhaps the most significant drawback of buying hearing aids online is the absence of face-to-face professional guidance. In a brick-and-mortar store, audiologists and hearing specialists can conduct comprehensive evaluations to determine the most suitable hearing aid brand and type for your unique condition. They can also provide personalised fitting and follow-up adjustments to ensure optimal performance. This crucial aspect is often missing when purchasing online.
✘ Who Sets the Hearing Aids Up? It takes specialist knowledge and training to set hearing aids up to a client’s hearing levels, and then fine tune them to the client’s preferences and needs. When hearing aids are purchased online, clients often need to find a local Audiology clinic who are willing to program and fine tune the devices, and this often comes at an added cost.
✘ Limited Trial Periods: Reputable Audiology clinics hearing aid retailers usually offer trial periods, allowing you to test the device and return it if you are not satisfied. However, online purchases may have limited trial periods or more complicated return processes, potentially making it harder to find the right fit for your needs. At Hearing & Audiology, clients have the opportunity to trial a hearing device before making the purchase.
✘ Potential Counterfeit Products: The online marketplace is not immune to counterfeit products, and hearing aids are no exception. Purchasing from unverified sources increases the risk of acquiring substandard or counterfeit devices that could be ineffective or even harmful to your hearing health.
✘ Lack of After-Sales Support: Buying from a local Audiology Clinic hearing aid provider ensures that you have ongoing support and maintenance for your device. Online purchases may lack this level of after-sales service, leaving you to troubleshoot issues on your own.
✘ Lack of, or, No Warranty: When you purchase hearing aids online, you often do not know where the devices are coming from, and whether they have an Australian warranty. All hearing aids purchased from Hearing & Audiology come with a standard 3 year warranty, with the option for additional warranty, to protect against manufacturing defects. Hearing aids purchased from Hearing & Audiology can be dropped into the clinic at any time they require a service, and they are express posted to and from the manufacturer with a limited turn-around. Loan devices can be provided while the client’s devices are away.
Tips for Buying Hearing Aids Online
- Research Thoroughly: Take your time to research reputable online retailers with positive customer reviews and reliable product information.
- Seek Professional Advice: Before making a purchase, consult with a licensed audiologist or hearing specialist in Perth to determine the best type and model of hearing aid for your needs.
- Check Warranty and Return Policies: Ensure the online store offers a reasonable trial period, return policy, and warranty for the hearing aids you are interested in.
- Verify Authenticity: Be cautious of significantly discounted hearing aids or deals that seem too good to be true. Verify the authenticity of the product and the legitimacy of the retailer.
What to Know About In-Person Hearing Aid Purchase
Choosing to buy hearing aids from a local provider offers distinct advantages over online purchases, mainly centred around personalised care and support.
- Professional Evaluation and Fitting: When you visit an audiologist or hearing specialist in person, they will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your hearing abilities. This evaluation takes into account your specific hearing loss patterns, lifestyle, and preferences. Based on the results, the professional can recommend the most appropriate hearing aid model and make necessary adjustments to ensure a precise fit.
- Customization and Adjustments: In-person purchases allow for personalised customization and fine-tuning of the hearing aids. Audiologists can adjust the settings based on your feedback and make sure the devices are optimised for your unique hearing needs.
- Trial and Follow-Up Support: Many local Audiologists hearing aid providers offer trial periods during which you can test the hearing aids in various real-life situations. Additionally, they provide ongoing support and follow-up appointments to address any issues, make adjustments, and ensure your satisfaction with the devices.
- Education and Counseling: Audiologists can provide essential education on how to use and care for hearing aids properly. They can also offer counselling to help you adapt to the devices and manage expectations during the adjustment period.
What to Know About Online Hearing Aid Purchase
While the advantages of in-person purchases are clear, online shopping for hearing aids can still be a viable option for some individuals under specific circumstances.
- Experienced Users: For those who are already familiar with hearing aids and have previous experience with them, online purchases might be more straightforward. They may already know the specific features and models they prefer and may feel confident in self-adjusting the settings.
- Limited Access to Local Providers: In some remote areas of Perth or places with a scarcity of hearing aid specialists, online purchasing might be the only viable option for obtaining hearing aids.
- Reordering and Convenience: Once a person knows their preferred hearing aid model, online purchasing can offer the convenience of reordering when it’s time for a replacement or if a backup pair is needed.
BONUS: Tips for Navigating Online Purchases Safely
Research Reputable Retailers: Stick to established and reputable online hearing aid retailers. Look for customer reviews, testimonials, and any certifications that prove their legitimacy.
Verify Product Authenticity: Counterfeit hearing aids can be a significant concern when purchasing online. Verify the authenticity of the product by checking for manufacturer information, serial numbers, and proper labelling.
Check Return and Warranty Policies: Make sure the online retailer offers a reasonable trial period and a solid return policy. Also, check the warranty coverage for the hearing aids.
Seek Professional Guidance: Before making a final purchase, consult with a licensed audiologist or hearing specialist to ensure you choose the right hearing aid model for your specific needs.
Compare Prices and Deals: While affordability is a consideration, be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true. Compare prices across different reputable online retailers and ensure you are getting a fair value for the hearing aids you choose. (sorry this is great info but we dont want to encourage people to go and buy their devices online as this does not align with our medical model)
Is It Safe to Buy Hearing Aids Online? The Final Word
The decision to buy hearing aids online or in person in Perth depends on your individual circumstances and preferences.
In-person purchases offer the benefits of professional evaluation, fitting, and ongoing support, ensuring you get the most suitable hearing aid for your unique needs.
On the other hand, online purchases can be more convenient and cost-effective, especially for those with prior experience and limited access to local providers.
Whatever path you choose, remember that addressing hearing loss is a critical step towards maintaining cognitive function, emotional well-being, and overall safety.
If you suspect hearing loss or have noticed any changes in your hearing abilities, it’s essential to seek professional evaluation or arrange a hearing test from an audiologist or hearing specialist.
Call Hearing & Audiology With Your Hearing Questions
Sometimes it simply helps to talk to a team of experts to determine whether a hearing test is right for you. That’s where Hearing & Audiology can help.
Call us on (08) 9388 8003 to chat with our friendly, local staff and enquire as to whether a hearing test could be right for you. You can also find out what Medicare coverage you qualify for and what to expect from the process in any one of our offices throughout Western Australia.
The team at Hearing & Audiology has over 35 years of experience providing support for people suffering from hearing problems and loss. We’re local, Australia-trained, and dedicated to providing state-of-the-art hearing solutions to every one of our clients.