Frequently Asked Questions
Why are hearing aid prices so low at West Coast Audiology?
What are the steps to being fitted with a hearing aid?
How long will my hearing aid last?
What kind of manufacturer warranty come with my new hearing aid?
What happens if I lose my hearing aid?
What happens if my hearing aid is out of warranty and needs repair?
Low Prices Why are hearing aid prices so low at West Coast Audiology?
We focus on premium hearing aid service, not sales, and save you money in two ways:
1. Low retail mark-ups on wholesale hearing aid prices.
2. Flat-Rate for professional fitting service, and pay-as-you-go follow-up
Low retail mark-ups on wholesale prices.
At West Coast Audiology we use the same low retail mark-up on every hearing aid we order from the manufacturer. Many other hearing aid dispensing practices typically mark-up premium hearing aids more than basic hearing aids, and so make more profit on premium priced hearing aids. At West Coast Audiology we have no profit incentive to recommend one hearing aid over another, and we are free to recommend the hearing aid that gives you the best value, given your particular hearing needs and financial position.
Instead of large retail mark-ups on hearing aids, we charge a flat-rate service fee for our professionally licensed audiologist to accurately fit and adjust the hearing aids during the first year. This flat-rate service fee is included in the price of our hearing aids. Follow-up appointments after the first year are usually $25.
This plan can mean huge financial savings for you. Most people paying the traditional price for hearing aids are unaware that usually $500 - $1500 (or more) of the price of each hearing aid is the retail mark-up that the dispenser charges for performing the initial fitting and all those "free office visits for 3 years". Those "free" office visits, however, are not free - you are paying the dispenser in advance for follow-up care, whether you intend to use it or not. If you rarely come in for follow-up care, move to another city or have a falling out with the dispenser, no money is given back. If the dispenser moves or goes out of business, no money is given back. At West Coast Audiology you will not pay in advance for future follow-up care after the first year, but only for the appointments you need at $25 per visit. Since 2-3 office visits a year is typical, you can expect to pay $50-$75 a year in follow-up hearing aid service. By charging you reasonable prices, and for only the services you use, we can save you $100's to $1000's on the cost of a pair of hearing aids.
Steps What are the steps to being fitted with a hearing aid?
Being fitted with a hearing aid is a three step process:
1. Initial Consultation
At this first appointment you will meet with the audiologist who will discuss your communication needs and pertinent medical history. The audiologist will also perform a thorough hearing evaluation. After a discussion of your results and individual communication needs, the audiologist may give a recommendation for a hearing aid trial. The choice of hearing aid will be based on a discussion of your hearing, lifestyle, budget and cosmetic desire. Ear impressions will be taken at this time if needed. There is no charge for this appointment.
2. Hearing Aid Fitting Appointment
The audiologist will professionally fit your hearing aid(s), using state-of-the-art equipment to verify the correct hearing aid output, as well as getting feedback from you as to the volume, quality and clarity of sound as you listen to a variety of talkers and environmental sounds. Hearing aid care and maintenance will be reviewed. Payment for your hearing aids will be made at this time. Your 45-day trial begins at this appointment, and at any time during the next 45 days you may return your hearing aid(s) for a full 100% refund.
3. Follow-Up Appointments
During the next few weeks, you will be asked to return to our office to see the audiologist to 'fine tune' your hearing aids. Especially if you are a new hearing aid user, there is usually an initial period of a few weeks where you are adapting to your new awareness of sound. During this time your sound preferences may change and the hearing aid settings may need to be changed. Several office visit may be needed to make these changes, as well as to troubleshoot communication situations that continue to be a problem. While hearing aids cannot be expected to solve all of your communication problems, our audiologist will use these follow-up visits to help you get the very best from your new hearing aids.
How longHow long will my hearing aid last?
A good rule of thumb is to expect your hearing aids to last at least 5 years, though perhaps with some manufacturer repairs included during that time. Hearing aid technology is constantly being updated and upgraded, and the true longevity of emerging technology is not really known. Usually after 5 years hearing aid technology has changed enough that when a repair is needed on your current hearing aids, you will consider putting the money you would spend on a repair towards the purchase of a new hearing aids that will enhance your hearing even more.
WarrantyWhat kind of manufacturer warranty comes with my new hearing aid?
When you purchase new hearing aids, they will come with a Repair Warranty, and a Loss & Damage Warranty from the manufacturer. Most of the hearing aids we dispense in a 3 year manufacturer warranty, and additional years of manufacturer warranty can sometimes be purchased. The Repair Warranty covers any repairs and servicing that is needed during the warranty period to the internal electronics of the hearing aid. Repairs needed on the external shell casing (e.g. cracked shell) are typically covered for one year from the date of purchase. Loss and Damage warranty covers a one time replacement of the hearing aid if it is lost or damaged beyond repair, and there is a deductible that you will need to pay, typically $250 per replaced hearing aid.
Lose AidWhat happens if I lose my hearing aid?
If your hearing aid is still covered for Loss and Damage, a replacement hearing aid (same model and style) can be ordered from the manufacturer. You will pay a deductible of $250 for each lost hearing aid. The Loss and Damage warranty does not cover earmolds, just the hearing aid itself. If the hearing aid was custom made (in-the-ear), has a custom made receiver that sits in the ear, or uses an earmold, a new earmold impression will need to be made in our office before a replacement hearing aid can be ordered. Once the hearing aid is received from the manufacturer, it will be programmed to match the previous hearing aid settings, and you will be fitted with your replacement hearing aid.
The manufacturer's Loss and Damage warranty covers a one time replacement only, so if you want to continue to have warranty coverage for loss and damage, you can obtain coverage via a third party hearing aid insurer like ESCO.
RepairWhat happens if my hearing aid is out of warranty and needs repair?
Unless the hearing aid is a very old model, we will usually be able to send it in to the manufacturer for an out-of-warranty repair for about $200. With this repair you will also receive from the manufacturer a 6 month or one-year repair warranty, and so any additional repairs needed during this additional warranty period will be covered at no additional charge.
If your manufacturer repair warranty has expired, you can also get warranty coverage through a hearing aid insurance company like ESCO.