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Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031
Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031

Pros and Cons of Buying Used Hearing Aids

Pros and Cons of Buying Used Hearing Aids
One of the most common roadblocks people face when it comes to treating their hearing loss is the cost of hearing aids. These controlled medical devices are expensive, often ranging from $900-$3,500 for one hearing aid, and it is generally recommended that you use two hearing aids in concert.

As insurance companies often do not cover the cost of hearing aids—with the better providers covering up to half the cost of hearing aids—buying hearing aids can be difficult. However, there is the option to buy hearing aids secondhand, which can significantly reduce the cost.

If you are unsure if purchasing used hearing aids is a good idea, our doctors of audiology at Hearing & Balance Doctors are here to highlight the pros and cons. That way, you can make a fully informed decision.

Potential Pros Of Buying Used Hearing Aids

Cheaper To Buy Used

One of the driving forces for those who look into buying used hearing aids is the potential to save money. Used hearing aids can be far cheaper than a set of brand-new hearing aids.

There are hidden costs to buying used that can detract from the savings, but even with them, you likely will still save.

Audiologists Can Reprogram

Hearing aids can be reprogrammed. In fact, even if you buy new hearing aids, our doctors of audiology would recalibrate them for your particular hearing loss. So, it is not as much of a big deal to reprogram used hearing aids.

The only catch is if you buy hearing aids that are too weak for you. For instance, if you have severe hearing loss and buy a set of hearing aids that are only suited for mild-to-moderate hearing loss, our audiologists can only reprogram them so far—there will still be a deficit.

Can Easily Identify Responsible Sellers

As controlled medical devices, hearing aids can only be sold to people who have had a recent—within the last six months—hearing evaluation from a licensed provider. Used hearing aids can be sold by third parties, but you should look for certain signs of responsible sellers.

One thing to look for is an FDA warning statement that encouraged you to have your hearing tested before buying hearing aids. Also, many of these sellers will require a signed waiver if you don’t have a hearing evaluation. Used hearing aid sellers who implement these steps are more likely to be trustworthy.

Superficial Issues Can Be Fixed

If you buy used hearing aids with minor defects like a cracked battery door or old earmold, these issues are no impediment and can help lower the price of your hearing aids. By bringing in these superficially damaged hearing aids to our in-office hearing aid repair lab, our audiologists can fix them.

Downsides Of Buying Used Hearing Aids

Type Of Hearing Aid Restricted

There are several different types of hearing aids, though the basic difference is that some hearing aids sit outside of your ear—Behind-The-Ear (BTE)—and others rest inside your ear—In-The-Ear (ITE).

If you want to buy used hearing aids, the BTE style of hearing aids is the way to go. The ITE style of hearing aids is custom-made for the original wearer, which means they won’t fit you properly. Hearing aids that fit poorly can be painful to wear, fall out, and lead to lots of feedback.

Potentially, you can have the casing of a used ITE hearing aid recast for your ear. Then the ITE hearing aids can be repackaged in the new case. However, this process is pricey, potentially as pricey as new hearing aids.

This means, if you want one of the more discreet hearing aid styles that go in your ear, you shouldn’t buy used.

May Not Be Able To Be Worked On

Not all hearing aid brands and styles can be worked on by our audiologists. Sometimes it is due to age if you purchased an older set of used hearing aids. Other times, there are some hearing aid brands that will only allow their authorized repair shops to service their hearing aids.

That means you might be stuck with no one locally who can help you with your used hearing aids if you run into trouble.

Warranty Doesn’t Transfer

Some of the major hearing aid manufacturers may honor their hearing aid warranty, but they don’t necessarily have to, as the warranty applies to the original owner. So, if you need warrantied major repairs for your used to hearing aids or needs to be replaced after it has been damaged, you may find out that you don’t have warranty coverage.

Also, you can’t count on the seller to know if your warranty will transfer. Some sellers will say that the warranty is good for the lifetime of the device—which is true for the original owner. But the seller may not realize that the warranty on their hearing aids won’t transfer.

No Guaranteed Functionality

As with all pre-owned items, there is the chance that the used hearing aids that you purchase will not work. Even if they do work, they may have limited functionality and not live up to your expectations.

Likely, if the hearing aids you purchased expecting to work on arrival do not, then you can demand a refund. However, even a refund for defective hearing aids doesn’t address your need for properly working hearing aids and just prolongs your search.

Potentially Shortened Lifespan

Like anything sold used, many used hearing aids are hawked as “barely used” and “like new” to potential buyers. Whether that is true or not is debatable. Even if the hearing aids were barely used, that doesn’t mean they will have the preferred 5-year lifespan.

For instance, what if the previous owner didn’t use their hearing aid much, but when they did, the previous owner would take them out and toss the hearing aids on a dresser. Or, what if the previous owner never cleaned their hearing aids, and the seller only cleaned the hearing aids for the photos. You would never know, but these things can drastically shorten the life of your hearing aids.

Poor Condition

Speaking of photos, it is fairly easy to edit photos and take shots that hide the flaws of the used hearing aids you are considering buying. While some sellers can have this practice catch up with them, what if you bought your used hearing aids online, and the seller opted to disappear when you file a complaint about the hearing aids you received?

Also, even if the outside is in good condition, that doesn’t mean that everything looks good inside the case of your used hearing aids. But you likely won’t know if there is an issue until our doctors of audiology take a look.

Lacks Various Features

With used hearing aids, you are likely to pick up an older model of hearing aids. That means that your new-to-you hearing aids could lack some quality-of-life features such as tinnitus management, feedback suppression, binaural hearing, telecoils, Bluetooth connectivity, and other features that make it easier for you to use your hearing aids.

Sadly, as you can see, there are far more cons to choosing to go with used hearing aids than there are upsides.

Ways To Afford New Hearing Aids

Should you prefer to not deal with the potential downsides of choosing used hearing aids but are concerned about affording new hearing aids, here are some things you can do to help afford them.

Contact insurance provider – While many insurance providers do not cover hearing aids, they may cover your hearing evaluation. Also, you never know unless you ask if they can cover at least part of your hearing aid purchase. Your provider may also have deals relating to certain hearing aid brands, which our audiologists can get you.

In-office financing – Here at Hearing & Balance Doctors, we offer financing options to help you afford the hearing aids that you need. Be sure to mention to our staff that you are interested in financing your hearing aids so that we can discuss your options with you.

Consider hearing aid options – There are many hearing aid brands and levels of hearing aids, and some can be more affordable than others. Our doctors of audiology make it a point to have a wide range of hearing aids at a large spectrum of prices available to help accommodate different budgets.

Look into charitable foundations – You can find a number of charitable organizations that focus on providing hearing aids to those in need. Some organizations you may want to consider are:

Crowdfunding – There are a number of crowdfunding platforms where you can create a campaign that family and friends can donate toward. That way, if you have loved ones—and sometimes just strangers who care—who want to help you hear better, creating one of these campaigns is an easy way to allow them to help you.

If you would like to know more about our financing options, want to find out if we can reprogram your used hearing aids or need other hearing and balance services, please contact us. We will do our best to provide you with the best services possible.

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