This is a common question among family members of hearing aid wearers. After a family member has passed away, someone else may want to use their hearing aids. Maybe a family member, or friend, is getting a new pair of hearing aids, and they have offered to give you their current pair. There are some issues that need to be discussed about reusing someone else’s hearing aids.
Hearing Aids are Medical Devices
First of all, hearing aids are medical devices. They are regulated by the FDA, which means manufacturers who produce hearing aids have archives of which hearing healthcare professional each accessory was sold to, who the device was fitted for, and a complete history of the hearing aid’s warranty and repair. This data is useful for tracking any problems or recalls associated with the hearing aids. If someone else were to reuse a patient’s old pair of hearing aids, the registration -- and warranty -- would be misplaced.
Hearing Loss is Unique
The ability to hear is different for every individual. Hearing aids, in particular, require being able to physically fit on the wearer along with catering to the wearer’s actual hearing needs.
Custom hearing aids work best when they fit snugly in each individual patient’s ears. There are standard hearing aids that are available with custom fit ear molds. These customized hearing aids probably won’t fit very well or comfortably in another person’s ears. There are some manufacturers who may not create a new mold on a hearing aid device for a different individual, because it is a medical device. If the custom hearing aid can be remolded, it would still be very expensive.
It is also very unlikely that your hearing needs are going to be the same as the original owner’s. Wearing someone else’s device might not even improve your hearing. Hearing professionals find the most appropriate hearing aids, fit them, and then program the aids to each patient’s unique needs. For example, it is important to be aware of how much louder the device amplifies the sound. Too much amplification could damage your existing ability to hear.
Support and Service are Key to Success
If you are able to physically wear the hearing aids, you still need to make an appointment with a hearing aid professional who is willing to adjust and help maintain them. It is advised that you get a full hearing and communication assessment, so that your hearing healthcare professional can determine if the hearing aids will be suitable to your needs.
If the hearing professional determines that the hearing aids will work for you, he or she can adjust the device to your appropriate needs. There will usually be a fee for this procedure. It would be wise to purchase a service and support plan to keep up with long-term care.
An Additional Option
If you cannot use the hearing aids, you may donate them. There are a number of charity organizations that will take donated hearing aids, and give you a tax credit. Two of these organizations include the Starkey Hearing Foundation and the Lions Club.
Hearing aids are life-altering, and it’s important to get your money’s worth. Just be aware that the “one-size-fits all” theory does not usually apply in this case, so the results of use may differ from person to person.
If you, or a family member, are in need of new hearing aids please contact our hearing instrument specialists at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.