Targeted online hearing aid advertising seems all pervasive, especially if you’re over 65 years of age. Ads on social media and other sites promise low-cost, discreet “hearing aids” that are suitable for anyone. That's not surprising considering 10% of the population has hearing loss and 80% of those with hearing loss have yet to purchase hearing aids. That's a big market to tap into and there are plenty of people trying to cash in.
As an industry professional and hearing clinic owner, I am keenly aware of the challenge suffered by those with hearing loss, many of whom cannot afford to purchase hearing aids from a traditional hearing clinic, at traditional clinic prices. Many of these people feel they have no choice but to resort to purchasing a cheap product online in a desperate attempt to function in conversation.
...answering questions truthfully is a lot to ask of faceless, online hearing device sellers.
I recently encountered a typical example of one of these online advertisements on social media, marketing a cheap hearing amplifier as though it were a real hearing aid. There were many comments posted following the advertisement: "Wow, that's an amazing new invention!" and "How much does it cost?" and "Will it fix my tinnitus?", etc.
Buried in these comments, one comment grabbed my attention. A mother of a two-year-old was asking if the hearing device, marketed to adults with mild-to-severe, age-related hearing loss, would be suitable for her child's severe hearing loss and small ears. Her comment lamented that she was unable to afford hearing aids from her local clinic. As a hearing professional I knew at once that the answer was a resounding, "No!"
However, the hearing device seller gave an encouraging "Yes", stating that the “hearing aids” would provide an adequate hearing solution for less than $100.00 each. This sort of online deception is infuriating to hearing professionals, myself included. So I've written this article in an attempt to address the issue, arming consumers with information to protect them from investing hope and hard-earned money in hopeless, possibly harmful devices.
The seller’s response was more than misleading. What was left unsaid is the worst kind of professional negligence. But the seller isn’t necessarily a certified hearing professional, so there can be no expectation of “professional” conduct. Yet another consideration to ponder when purchasing medical devices online.
Unfortunately, this seller neglected to inform the mother that the devices being sold were not actually hearing aids, despite being marketed as such (which is currently illegal in both Canada and in the United States, but not policed with any vigor online.) In fact, the products marketed are simple hearing amplifiers. There are big differences between hearing amplifiers and certified hearing aids including sound compression, fine frequency-level adjust-ability, clarity, potential power output, warranties, and in-person professional service, just to name a few.
...a dangerous game of “buyer beware” that can result in the loss of more than just a few dollars.
While cheap hearing amplifiers may minimally satisfy some people with less common forms of hearing loss, they are not well-suited to those with typical, age-related hearing loss. In fact there is a greater likelihood of sound discomfort, balance issues, inability to locate sounds, and potential headache. You may find yourself sustaining even more cochlear hearing loss in your failed experiment.
When a hearing aid consumer has false hope or is misguided in their pursuit of a product or service that may not properly address their hearing loss or, worse yet, may cause harm, it becomes a dangerous game of “buyer beware” that can result in the loss of more than just a few dollars.
UBHearing has the lowest entry price for real hearing aids, at $199.00 per aid, with an average price of $500.00 per aid. We sell only certified, government approved hearing aids with the highest quality, in-person service in Ontario. View our hearing aid price categories here...
Since our grand opening in March 2018, the general public's response has been overwhelming. We're happy to report that more than 50% of our new business is through word of mouth referrals from happy clients. Read actual client reviews here...
Don't take our word for it. Ask your doctor what hearing clinic they recommend. More local physicians are recommending UBHearing for value and satisfaction. Read more about our positive relationship with local doctors...
Everyone who needs hearing aids should be able to afford them and no one should have to take risks with the precious gift of their remaining hearing by purchasing cheap, ineffective online products.
Beware of online “hearing aid” advertising that make grand promises of giving you more for less. Financial disappointment may end up being the least of your worries.
Become a well-informed hearing aid consumer by visiting HearingClinics101.org, or one of our UBHearing clinics to discuss the difference real and affordable hearing aids can make. Read more about what makes us your best choice for hearing care...