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Is it a good idea to buy a hearing aid by mail or online?

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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For years, you've seen the magazine ads for amazingly cheap hearing aids that are "every bit as good" as more expensive hearing aids provided by hearing-care professionals. More recently, a growing number of companies have been selling hearing aids via the Internet. The problem is that hearing aids are not merely amplifiers. They are sophisticated digital devices and require professional services including: 1) Audiometric testing to determine your unique hearing needs. 2) Selection and programming of the hearing aids to match your hearing loss. 3) Verification testing to ensure that you're receiving maximum benefit. 4) Aftercare service, such as reprogramming, cleaning and adjustment

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates hearing aids, says: "Hearing aids should be properly fitted by a licensed hearing healthcare professional (such as an audiologist or a hearing aid dispenser) so that the amplification matches your hearing loss. If not fitted properly, too much amplification may cause additional hearing loss."

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Original Publication Date: December 12, 2013

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