By Ann L. Rhoten, Au.D., CCC/A
Would you buy a car without test driving it first? Would you buy a house without seeing it first? If the answer is no, then why would you buy a hearing aid without taking it for a “test drive”? If you are like most people for whom hearing aids have been recommended, you are reluctant to buy before you know how they perform. Besides the significant financial investment, there are so many choices, it can be quite overwhelming. How do you know what is best for you at the best price? At Kentucky Audiology & Tinnitus Services, we have several methods which help us determine the most appropriate make and model for your unique listening needs including a thorough case history and comprehensive hearing assessment as well as hearing handicap inventories to assess what situations you experience the most difficulty. Using these tools, we can typically choose the most appropriate technology for you. That being said, sometimes the patient needs to experience what a hearing aid sounds like in order to make the right decision for them. The most convincing and powerful tool is to experience amplification in your own environment and experience the benefits first hand. No matter what make or model you ultimately choose and no matter where you purchase hearing aids, there is always a 30-day trial period, so even if you don’t get to “test drive” your hearing aid prior to a purchase, if you are dissatisfied for any reason, they can be exchanged or returned. However, most people prefer to actually experience the improvement in hearing before they purchase with no cost or obligation.
A stumbling block in this process of demonstration hearing aids is that most manufacturers only provide demonstration hearing aids in the premium-level products. While this is very helpful, the patient is unable to experience the less expensive technology without proceeding with the purchase. I think it is safe to say, most of us feel more comfortable when making a large purchase, to be able to try the actual device in our own environment without any cost or obligation before making a decision. Being able to experience the different levels of technology in your own home may save the patient a substantial amount of money should they find a lower level of technology is just as beneficial as a more expensive one.
Unitron, a small Canadian-based, hearing aid manufacturer, has developed a program to address this issue called Flex-Trial. The Flex-Trial program allows the audiologist to program the demonstration hearing aids to any level of technology from economy to premium. There are 5 technology levels from which to select. Based on your history, your hearing handicap inventories and your unique hearing needs, the audiologist will make a recommendation on the technology level most appropriate for you and program the devices for you to take home. You can now try the hearing aid in all the situations in which you experience difficulty and make an informed decision about which level of technology is providing you with the benefit you need. Most people try one to two different levels of technology to determine which best suits their unique situation. Now they can proceed with the purchase of hearing aids with confidence in the ability of the hearing aid to significantly improve their lives. If you, a family member, friend or co-worker would like to experience better hearing with no cost or obligation, please contact the office for your “test drive” with a Flex-Trial. 859-554-5384
Dr. Ann Rhoten Au.D., CCC/A is an independent audiologist in Lexington. If you know someone suffering with soft sound sensitivity, assure them there is help. With nearly three decades of experience, Dr. Rhoten offers the knowledge and the professional service each patient needs.
Dr. Rhoten is an audiologist with Kentucky Audiology & Tinnitus Services, PLLC, 1517 Nicholasville Road, Suite 202, Lexington, KY 40503 (859) 554-5384, or visit her online at www.kytinnitustreatment.com