The risks of purchasing hearing aids online

A few of months ago, we received a phone call from a gentleman who was not a client of ours.

He had some brand new hearing aids but the instructions were in Chinese – and he didn’t read Chinese.

That sounded odd, so we asked how he came by those hearing aids.

He said he bought them online from an overseas website to save a few dollars.

And now they had arrived, he didn’t know what to do with them, so he was ringing around to find anyone here in Australia who could help him.

Unfortunately we couldn’t be of assistance.

The man claimed he bought a particular manufacturer’s hearing aids, but this was not something we could possibly determine from the description.

Somehow, if he did get a genuine hearing aid, there will be challenges for this purchaser including – warranty, service and programming.

People who aren’t familiar with hearing aids might simply look at the price and make a decision to purchase online on that factor alone.

It’s a false economy that could end up costing you time and thousands of dollars.

Your hearing loss is personal to you

We’ve all seen the horror stories of people who bought clothes online and found that they didn’t fit and most certainly didn’t look like the photo on the website.

Buying hearing aids is much the same.

Some hearing aids are better in dealing with particular types of hearing loss than others, and the only way to know which hearing aid is right for you is to have a comprehensive hearing assessment with an audiologist.

Even if your friend had success with a particular make or model of hearing aid, it doesn’t mean that will be right for you.

Hearing aids must be fitted by a qualified audiologist

An audiologist is a medical professional. They are highly trained to understand hearing loss and present solutions to help you maximise your hearing.

Audiologists receive software by the manufacturers to program their specific brand of hearing aids. Hearing aids purchased overseas or via the Internet often do not work with the manufacturer’s software.

Hearing aids purchased online in this manner are often not warranted for the full three year manufacturer’s warranty. This means you will not get the full support or the full benefit of manufacturer.

We take a comprehensive look at the issue. Here are some key points:

  • Lack of support
  • Legal liabilities for audiologists
  • Missing out on rebates
  • Something completely different
  • Unverified qualifications
  • Beware of special software
  • Cheap hearing aids are not work it
  • Issues take much longer fix
  • Your consumer rights may not be protected
  • Avoid the traps and pitfalls
  • Limited warranties
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