Given the number of people impacted by hearing loss, it’s sadly unsurprising that scams and misleading claims tend to pop up like mushrooms after a spring rain. Unfortunately, the pandemic has only further fueled these attempts at fraud. More people are spending time on social media, logistics networks are interrupted, and people are more isolated than ever. It’s a perfect storm. So let’s talk about what you need to do in order to weather it. Here are a few of the most common red flags of a hearing aid scam — learn to recognize them, and you’re one step closer to avoiding them.
No Fitting Required
One size fits all does not apply to hearing aids. Everyone’s ears are different, and modern hearing aids are fitted to the precise measurements of the person using them. Unfortunately, this is nearly impossible to achieve if you’re shopping online.
Between the potential for user error, mail delays, and the lack of professional input from an audiologist, there’s no feasible way to achieve a custom, comfortable fit. And you can only learn so much from pictures, company descriptions, and customer reviews. Unless the purchase process involves speaking to a professional audiologist for a fitting, be suspicious.
Overly Short Trial Periods
Legitimate suppliers don’t need to rush.
Short trial periods are meant to pressure the customer into an impulse purchase. But, on the other hand, maybe the seller is clearing out old inventory or trying to offload returned or faulty models. Whatever the case, you need more than a week to get used to a hearing aid and determine if it works for you.
A vendor that isn’t trying to scam you or fleece you understands this. They don’t pressure you to rush into a purchase. They know the process of choosing a hearing aid takes time and stand by the quality of their products.
Another critical thing to consider is the warranty. If a hearing aid lacks one or has an overly restrictive warranty that only covers specific scenarios, that hints the company doesn’t believe in the product. And if they don’t, you shouldn’t either.
Overly Flashy Promotions
Remember that if something is too good to be true, that’s usually because it is. Companies that intend to sell less-than-quality hearing aids may rely on flashy advertisements with rock bottom prices. The idea is to create a false sense of victory and urgency for the customer and distract them with the deal so that they don’t think to ask, “what’s the catch?”
Be wary of these claims.
There’s much more to choosing a hearing aid than price. They’re expensive and require a significant lifestyle adjustment, so you’ll need a hearing test to have an accurate starting point. More importantly, your hearing aid is yours alone.
Ultimately, being fitted with the right device for you isn’t an overnight process. It’s not something you can achieve with a fly-by-night shyster. You need to work with a professional audiologist or hearing aid specialist and pay attention to each hearing aid’s features, warranty, and reviews.
About the Author:
Pauline Dinnauer is the VP of Audiological Care at Connect Hearing, which provides industry-leading hearing loss, hearing testing, and hearing aid consultation across the US.