Are Used Hearing Aids Right for You?

In America, the average age of a first-time hearing aid user is 70 but less than 30% of those individuals who need a hearing aid will ever get one. (Clason, 2019)

The reasons why someone may choose not to get a hearing aid are many, but one of the bigger barriers is the price tag associated with a new pair of hearing aids.

The average cost of new hearing aids can range anywhere from 2,000 to 12,000 per pair of aids, depending on style, model, and features (Mroz, 2020).

used hearing aids

If you are someone on a fixed or low-income budget the cost of hearing aids may not be affordable and in those cases, second-hand hearing aids can be a great option to make hearing accessibility affordable.

Another barrier is that perhaps you are more worried about the benefit you will receive from the hearing aids.

If you are concerned about spending thousands of dollars on something that may not work for you it may be a good idea to try out a used pair of hearing aids first. In the same vein as someone buying a starter home that is a little bit cheaper until they can save up for their forever home, you can buy a used pair of hearing aids while you decide if they are worth the investment for a brand-new set.

Pros and Cons of Used Hearing Aids

If you are considering purchasing used hearing aids for yourself or others there are some things to keep in mind.

The obvious benefit of purchasing a used hearing aid is the lower cost associated with it. (Hearing and Balance Doctors, 2019) As mentioned before used hearing aids typically sell for a fraction of the cost of a new one. This cost savings comes with some trade-offs though.

First, insurance may not cover the cost associated with purchasing used hearing aids, unless they were purchased through a clinic.

In terms of the hearing aids themselves, most new hearing aids come with a manufacturer warranty and in many cases that warranty is used up by the time somebody is ready to sell their hearing aids. For that reason, you need to be prepared for the aids to not last as long as their new counterparts. (Hearing and Balance Doctors, 2019)

Along the same line if you purchase your used aids through a private seller you have no guarantee that those hearing aids are in good working order.

In some situations, you can avoid that by buying used aids through verified sellers or hearing aid clinics (typically you can identify a trustworthy source if they have an FDA disclaimer on their sale posting explaining the need for proper hearing evaluation upon receipt of used aids (Hearing and Balance Doctors, 2019)).

The final thing to keep in mind with a used hearing aid is that you should not buy a custom hearing aid second hand. Custom hearing aids, such as CIC (completely-in-the-canal), ITC (invisible-in-the-canal), or ITE (in-the-ear) are built based on the shape of an individual’s ear and fit perfectly inside the ear canal.

CIC and BTE hearing aids
CIC and BTE hearing aids

Wearing somebody else’s custom hearing aid can result in issues such as feedback, under-amplification, and irritation in the ear due to improper fit.  If custom is the style of hearing aid you are interested in then you would have to buy them new.

However, if you are interested in buying the type that goes behind your ear, called a RITE (receiver-in-the-ear) or BTE (behind-the-ear) then you may be able to purchase used. (Hearing and Balance Doctors, 2019)

Where Can You Buy Used Hearing Aids?

If you decide that second-hand hearing aids are right for you, they can be found in a few different places.

Certain hearing aid clinics may sell donated hearing aids from previous clients at a reduced cost.

Often, they can be found on resale websites such as eBay, or Facebook marketplace. If you can find a site that advertises refurbished aids with a money-back guarantee even better.

In some situations, a friend or family member who no longer needs their hearing aids can donate them to you.

used hearing aids in a box

In any case, if you decide to go with used hearing aids you will still need to take them to an audiologist or hearing aid practitioner for a hearing test and to get the hearing aids programmed for your specific needs.

It is important to remember that wearing hearing aids that are not programmed for your hearing loss can lead to a lack of benefit or further damage to your hearing.

It is also worth noting that not all hearing aid clinics will fit donated aids (Mroz, 2020) and if they do there is often a programming fee attached to this service, so it is worth calling around to different clinics to see what is available in your area.

 

References

Clason, D. (2019, November 30). Hearing loss statistics at a glance. Retrieved from Healthy Hearing:

https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52814-Hearing-loss-statistics-at-a-glance

Hearing and Balance Doctors. (2019, December 13). Pros and Cons of Buying Used Hearing Aids. Retrieved from Hearing and Balance Doctors:

https://www.hearingdoctors.net/hearing-aids/buying-used-hearing-aids-pros-and-cons

Mroz, M. (2020, April 17). Used hearing aids. Retrieved from Healthy Hearing:

https://www.healthyhearing.com/help/hearing-aids/used

 

About Estephanie Jill

Estephanie Jill (EJBP, BSPT, PTRP) is a licensed physiotherapist. She is a home health care provider, laboratory technician for physical therapy students, medical transcriptionist, and an advocate of the physiotherapy profession. Apart from that, she loves writing. Playing to her strengths, she mainly writes around health and fitness, She has been commended for her writing in the past. Her other passions include commenting on societal changes and writing life reflective pieces. She enjoys meaningful conversations, and detaching from the digital world to do yoga and meditation. She is a self-confessed foodie who enjoys eating for the experience and then burning it all off through exercise.