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Thread: Pitfalls to watch out for when buying aids?

  1. Default Pitfalls to watch out for when buying aids?

    Hi, first post. Up to now I've been using NHS aids but I've been to a shop enquiring about hearing aids. He's quoted me prices for Unitron aids that are above what's quoted here https://www.hearingaid.org.uk/hearing-aids/unitron/. Some are only 100-200 above those prices others up to 800 above (this is for a pair of hearing aids).

    Could there any reason for this? e.g. Does the site mentioned above not give you the same tests etc. or do they charge for tests?

    Other things I'm wondering about

    When someone decides not to buy after trial is the shop left with those aids? Is he likely to be guiding me towards models he's been left with (obviously fitted in new body)?

    How do you know they don't just charge you for a more expensive model and fit a cheaper one?

    Any other advice gratefully accepted.

  2. #2

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    HA prices are all over the place. Even for the exact same brand/model, you'll get quoted possibly very differently if you go through the normal audi channels, and usually a bit lower if you go through online channels. It doesn't look like you're in the US but Costco in the US is another channel to dispense HAs that has very good pricing, but the HA may get rebranded to different brand and model names that are specific for Costco only.

    Some audis may charge for the hearing test, but in the US, most don't because they hope you'll buy from them so the free hearing test is a way to draw you in. Free hearing test at Costco as well.

    Usually if you decide not to keep the HAs after your trial, the dispenser is not stuck with the aids. They go back to the mfg. Maybe they may keep them in stock to refit them, I don't know what all the rules and regulations regarding that is. But don't worry about the dispenser being stuck with returned aids and being more inclined to push them more. They most likely operate via the retail model where any unsold/returned items get returned to the mfgs so the retailer is not stuck with those inventories.

    I doubt that you'll find a dishonest dispenser that would switch you with a less expensive model illegally because usually the profit margin is very healthy in the HA industry that they wouldn't need to resort to that type of practice to make their money. They won't cheat you, they'll just gouge you with huge profits up front if they can, unless you have the pricing knowledge to leverage and bargain with them in the first place.
    HA wearer since the 1990's > Rexton Insite+ CIC (2011-2016) > Oticon OPN RITE (2016)

    KHz 0.25...0.5...0.75...1.0...1.5...2.0...3.0...4.0... 6.0...8.0

    Left ...10...10....10.....30.....70....75....80....95.. ..90....80
    Right .25...30....40.....55.....75....85....90....90...1 00...100

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whit wis that View Post
    Hi, first post. Up to now I've been using NHS aids but I've been to a shop enquiring about hearing aids. He's quoted me prices for Unitron aids that are above what's quoted here https://www.hearingaid.org.uk/hearing-aids/unitron/. Some are only 100-200 above those prices others up to 800 above (this is for a pair of hearing aids).

    Could there any reason for this? e.g. Does the site mentioned above not give you the same tests etc. or do they charge for tests?

    Other things I'm wondering about

    When someone decides not to buy after trial is the shop left with those aids? Is he likely to be guiding me towards models he's been left with (obviously fitted in new body)?

    How do you know they don't just charge you for a more expensive model and fit a cheaper one?

    Any other advice gratefully accepted.
    Note of caution - you pay for what you get. Yes, you might find that an online hearing aid site can undercut a dispenser by a large margin. National chains like Specsavers and Boots can be cheaper than certain audiologists. You will also find that certain dispensers/audiologists charge more than others. You might find that those with expensive premises may charge more, and that location could be a factor - i.e. Harvey Street in London is likely to be more expensive, and the north may be cheaper than say, the south east of the country.

    However, once regional and other differences are accounted for, in my view, you have to be very careful about being attracted to low cost. The problem is whether you are paying for after care, and also - the skill of the audiologist. If you are are paying little more than the wholesale value of an instrument, then you might be getting no aftercare and little skill. Hearing aids are not as easy to fit as say, spectacles. Chances are that you may not have a successful first fit. You will need to go back and make adjustments. In my experience, certain dispensers (low cost), want to move on to the next customer - and I hope this is not a slur on them as a whole, who after all, are just making a living. If it's online anyway, you have a problem - how are you going to make adjustments ? If it's a national chain, with local reps, then they will be peripatetic and I have found getting their time to be a problem. An excellent audiologist, near me in Cambridge, charges double, but for that you will get proper testing (REM), a rigorous first fit and open ended time in adjustments. If one considers that you are getting the full attention of a professional - and given that most experts I am aware of in engineering/IT/legal fields etc etc, will charge at least 500 a day, then arguably the money is well spent. It really depends on if you think you can get away with having your hearing aids programmed quickly, with minimum fuss, or whether your hearing is going to require more expertise. Right now - I have learned the hard way with certain dispensers. I hope that hasn't offended anybody, as I appreciate that dispensers/audiologists must be at the mercy of manufacturer's first fit algorithms etc.

    On your other points, you need to find out what tests etc they offer. They will not charge you for a more expensive model and give you a cheaper one - that would be fraud. You will know what the model is - generally, because hearing aids are all branded, even within those chains that have their own brands like Costco or Specsavers. Don't really understand your question re: trials. Most dispensers have a free 30 day trial with some extending that period further; you are under no obligation to buy after that period; you can walk away.
    Last edited by glucas; 06-20-2017 at 01:28 PM.

  4. Default

    Find out what's included in the price.

    Check out this thread.
    The Babbling Blue Crab

    Freq - 250 - 500 - 750 - 1k - 2k - 3k - 4k - 6k - 8k
    -- R -- 20 -- 30 -- 30 - 40 - 45 - 50 - 55 - 55 - 60
    -- L -- 20 -- 30 -- 55 - 60 - 55 - 50 - 55 - 70 - 60

    SRT R 35 L 45
    WR R 75/88% L 75/76%

    Siemens Pure 5bx with EasyTek
    Wearing hearing aids since Sept. 2015

  5. Default

    Thanks for the replies.

  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Whit wis that View Post
    Hi, first post. Up to now I've been using NHS aids but I've been to a shop enquiring about hearing aids. He's quoted me prices for Unitron aids that are above what's quoted here https://www.hearingaid.org.uk/hearing-aids/unitron/. Some are only 100-200 above those prices others up to 800 above (this is for a pair of hearing aids).

    Could there any reason for this? e.g. Does the site mentioned above not give you the same tests etc. or do they charge for tests?

    Other things I'm wondering about

    When someone decides not to buy after trial is the shop left with those aids? Is he likely to be guiding me towards models he's been left with (obviously fitted in new body)?

    How do you know they don't just charge you for a more expensive model and fit a cheaper one?

    Any other advice gratefully accepted.
    You could call the bluff of the hearingaid.org site, by ordering the 500 series of either model and then doing a deal to get them upgraded with your local guy - this would mean that as long as the local guy would deal, you'll get the full aftercare you were after.

    You can see on the screen when your aids are upgraded - the destination model is obvious.

    The reason for the price discrepancy is the way your final price is calculated, some models work on %, some on fixed fee + wholesale price.
    'He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.'
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  7. Default

    Thanks Um bongo. I ended up not getting anything. He had moulds made for a pair of BTE RIC aids and let me try them but to me they weren't much better than the NHS ones. Certainly not to the extent that I could be bothered changing batteries every 4-5 days as opposed to every 6 weeks or so for the NHS ones. Which brings me to another thing I'm wondering about. How is it that there exists a disposable ITC aid where the battery supposedly last ~3 months yet with these private BTE aids the battery only lasts 4-5 days? I know the latter are probably doing more work but can't see it being to that extent.

  8. #8

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    Yeah changing batteries is a heavy burden to bear!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whit wis that View Post
    Thanks Um bongo. I ended up not getting anything. He had moulds made for a pair of BTE RIC aids and let me try them but to me they weren't much better than the NHS ones. Certainly not to the extent that I could be bothered changing batteries every 4-5 days as opposed to every 6 weeks or so for the NHS ones. Which brings me to another thing I'm wondering about. How is it that there exists a disposable ITC aid where the battery supposedly last ~3 months yet with these private BTE aids the battery only lasts 4-5 days? I know the latter are probably doing more work but can't see it being to that extent.
    Where are you?

    If you went from a 675 battery to a 312 then the usage isn't far off. At that rate you'd use about 1 in batteries per week. Or you could pay a couple of hundred for the rechargeable upgrade.

    The lyric is designed for mild/moderate loss, uses a different battery tech and invariably breaks down well before the three months, plus the subscription is about three grand a year. What you're also not considering is that where it sits is so deep in the canal that it dies way less work than a conventional aid. Plus it's analogue so there's no sound processing for noise.
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  10. Default

    I'm in Scotland Um bongo. I did get the guy to make me a couple of ear moulds for the NHS aids and they were different class to the moulds the NHS made me. Much slimmer and less obvious and they fit which was something the NHS ones never did despite 3 attempts. I almost feel as though I've got my new aids.

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