Senior Citizens are, unfortunately, taken advantage of quite frequently. If you are looking at hearing aids, or if you need a hearing aid, I have outlined five ways that you can avoid getting ripped off. One thing that I always suggest is that you go see a good local professional:

1) Overpaying. This is probably the most common mistake. We have heard the horror stories of people paying $8,000 or more for a pair of hearing aids. One of the ways you can avoid this, is to simply tell the specialist that you want to think about hearing aids before you buy them and then go shopping around. They shouldn’t have a problem with you doing that. Ask them for how much they will sell you the aid and what’s included such as warranty, return privilege, return fees, loss and damage fees, service fees, etc. Be specific as to the make and model so you can make certain you’re comparing apples to

2) Buying More Hearing Aid Than Necessary – Some offices only seem to tell you about the latest, most advanced hearing devices on the market. They don’t mention that in many cases these products are more hearing instrument technology than you really need. Sometimes your lifestyle or hearing loss is such that you will not benefit any more from the most advanced hearing aid circuitry than something less advanced. Most offices allow trial periods on hearing devices. Unless you just know you want the top of the line, try hearing aids a step or two down first. Then, if you feel you still need more help, you can upgrade. Make sure they give you a new trial period!

3) Not Buying a Good Enough Hearing Aid – Just as buying top of line is not always best, buying a bottom of line hearing aid can also be a mistake. Often it would be well worth a couple of hundred dollars extra to buy a hearing aid more suitable to your needs. It will make your hearing aid experience, and your life, much better.

4) Buying Under Pressure – No one should buy a hearing aid under pressure, yet many people are pushed into the purchase by slick salespeople or “Factory Representatives”. They will typically tell you that if you don’t purchase immediately then you will miss out on the incredible savings that they are offering “today only.” If you come back to them in a couple weeks, they would probably offer the same deal! They are not going to turn down the sale just because you want to think about it! Unfortunately, high-pressure sales is only about one thing: making money, not helping you hear well.

5) Sales Gimmicks – Hearing aid trade-ins (no such thing! When was the last time you saw a USED hearing aid store?), factory authorized sales, and most other discount offers are gimmicks designed to trick you into thinking you are getting a great deal. Sometimes the hearing aids are marked up so they can be discounted to the regular price. If the coupon is real you should be able to present it to them after they quote the price. If a coupon says you must present it before they see you, it’s probably a gimmick.

Trade-ins are always not real. None of the manufacturers offer any discount to the dealer for a trade-in. There is no trade-in program for hearing aids. I have never seen one… and I bet you haven’t either? If you have old hearing aids there’s no reason they should take them from you. It would be best to hold onto them for back-ups.

Be especially cautious of anyone advertising that they want you to take part in a new technology trial and get your opinion. The biggest problem with this marketing ploy is that if you lose the hearing aid while participating in the trial, you have to pay for it! Programs such as this are just another way to get you to try new hearing aids and sell them to you. Usually they will tell you the regular price is some crazy amount like $6000 per hearing aid, but because you participated in the trial you can buy it at 1/2 off. If you shopped around you would likely find the same hearing aid for less without all the deception. Sometimes manufacturers do offer trials on their products, but they organize these research trials at their manufacturing plants where they can monitor all of the results!