Hearing aid advertisements can be deceptive things. I’d like to offer a short primer to guide you through them and I’d like to start with just one word. Free.
Free hearing test. Free ear inspection. Free package of hearing aid batteries. Free is an attractive word. You’ve been wondering about your hearing lately, so why not? What do you have to lose? But when it comes to hearing aid sales, beware. The costs associated with all of those “free” things are built into the final price you pay.
Or how about “Save 50% All in-the-ear $495.00. Up to 30 dB loss.” This is the classic bait and switch. The key phrase in this ad is where it says up to 30 dB loss. People whose hearing is loss is 30 dB or better rarely want or need to wear hearing aids. If any part of your hearing loss is worse than 30 dB, they will say you don’t qualify for the $495.00 hearing aid. Instead, you’ll be offered something much more expensive, something for which you “qualify.” Most people who feel like they’re ready to explore hearing aids have a loss of 40 dB or greater at several points across the hearing spectrum.
“Wanted: 21 people to evaluate the latest in hearing aid technology! Qualified candidates will be chosen.” The terminology in this type of ad is non-threatening; it suggests that the firm is simply running an experiment with 21 people and you (lucky you!) have the opportunity to participate if you call soon enough.
“One week only!” This ad always has a call to action implying that if you don’t act now you’re going to miss out on a unique opportunity. The call to action is actually not a bad idea because most people with hearing loss wait far too long before taking steps toward better hearing. Don’t delay but find someone you can trust.
“40% off MSRP.” They don’t tell you that nobody sells hearing aids at MSRP and that MSRP can be over $6,000 per hearing aid. You do the math.
I can’t tell you to avoid these tactics by seeing an audiologist. Some audiologists use these tactics. Get referrals from friends and neighbors. Try to find an audiologist who will be transparent with you. You can find out about transparency in hearing aid sales from some of my previous posts.