Key facts about used hearing aids

For the 466 million people around the world with a disabling hearing loss, hearing aids can help improve hearing ability and restore the quality of life. Hearing aids all work differently and offer various features and technology depending on your type and degree of hearing loss. While new hearing aids are programmed specifically for your hearing needs, used hearing aids can sometimes be repurposed for someone else to use.

Buying hearing aids is an important investment in your hearing health that will also have a significant impact on your daily life. But before you decide to opt for used hearing aids here are six key facts about used hearing aids you should know.

1. Hygiene

Whatever type of hearing aid you wear, the device will come into contact with your skin and sweat. If the hearing aid hasn’t been serviced regularly cleaned thoroughly, a used hearing aid could have residue still on it from the previous wearer. It is difficult to eliminate residue that accumulates on a device over several years, especially as it is not always visible to the naked eye.

2. Technology

Hearing aid technology refers to the power source, programming capability, the age of the circuit, how well the hearing aid functions and its specific features. Hearing aid technology is constantly evolving. This means that the technology built into a used hearing aid could be significantly out of date. This could limit the hearing aids’ performance and effectiveness.

3. Fitting

Everyone is different and no two people have the same ear shape. To enable someone to comfortably wear second-hand hearing aids, the device will require a new shell to be made for in-the-ear models and a new mold and tubing will likely be needed for over-the-ear models. The hearing aids will also need reprogramming to ensure they are fine-tuned to the second user's specific hearing needs and preferences.

4. Return policy and warranty

It’s standard for a professional hearing care professional to provide you with a return policy of 30 to 60 days if you are not happy with your device. However, very few retailers who sell used hearing aids offer such a policy. This means that even if you are not satisfied with the second-hand hearing aids or they turn out not to be the right option for you, you will have to keep them. It’s also good to check whether the hearing aids are covered under an existing manufacturer warranty. If not, you may want to consider purchasing an extended warranty to cover loss or damage.

5. Hearing test

If you are determined to purchase a used hearing aid, it’s a good idea to schedule a hearing test with a hearing care professional. They will be able to determine your type of hearing loss and severity and may be able to recommend what you should look out for when buying a hearing aid.

6. Donating

Even if your hearing aid no longer works for you or you have switched to a hearing aid with more features, it could still work for someone else. Whether your unwanted hearing aid needs repairs or is still in good condition, there are several charities and organizations around the world that accept used hearing aids. They will then repurpose, reprogram or even recycle unwanted hearing aids to help other people with hearing loss.

While hearing aids have the potential to transform your hearing and your quality of life, it’s unlikely that you will be able to find second-hand hearing aids that perfectly fit your ear shape and meet your specific hearing requirements. However, a good place to start is by scheduling a hearing evaluation with a hearing care professional to determine whether a used hearing aid will be a good option for you.

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