“Should I repair or replace an older hearing aid?” is one of the more frequent questions we get. Presented with only that limited information, we have to answer truthfully, “That depends.” The matter of whether to replace or repair hinges on many factors, and the “right answer” is as individual as the people asking the question.
First, it must be noted that hearing aids – regardless of how well-crafted they are or what their initial price was – sometimes fail, or start to perform incorrectly. The surroundings that hearing aids inhabit – your ear canals – is an inhospitable one for advanced electronic devices, filled with ear wax (cerumen) and moisture. Both moisture and ear wax are natural, but your hearing aids dislike them both. Moisture can harm the tiny electronics while wax can ‘gum up’ the inner workings. Add to these two factors breakage (from inadvertently dropping the aids) and normal wear and tear (as inner tubing or parts degrade), and you can safely bet that at some point your hearing aid will need either replacement or repair.
One of the factors that should most affect your decision to “repair or replace” is whether you like your present hearing aids. If you do (as a lot of wearers of older analog hearing aids do), it may be better for you to have them fixed than to change to newer digital hearing aids with a different set of sound characteristics.
A second factor to consider, naturally, is price – whereas a brand new set of hearing aids could cost thousands of dollars, your current aids might cost only a few hundred dollars to fix. This monetary issue can be affected by insurance, however, which in some instances covers replacement hearing aids, but won’t cover having existing aids fixed.
If you decide to go after a repair, the next natural question is “Should I return them to where I purchased them?”While internet advertisers will try to position your community audiologist as merely a middle-man, that’s not true. There are numerous benefits of staying local. First off all, they can establish if repairs are in fact needed. Second, they might be able to get the repairs done on site decreasing the length of time you are without your hearing aid. If they need to send the hearing aid back to the manufacturer or outside lab for major repairs, they will make the process easy for you and you may even get a better rate because they work in bulk.
If you decide to replace your hearing aids, more choices are open to you. Take the time to understand the technological advances since the last time you purchased and be open to newer designs. More recent digital hearing aids have additional features that may help your hearing and can be more easily adjusted to perform the way you need them to. The answer to this “replace or repair” question is still up to you, but we hope that the information we have presented will help you.