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Consumer Reports: Hearing Aid Shoppers Pay High Prices, Get Mediocre Fittings
Date:6/1/2009

Comprehensive guide to purchasing and owning a hearing aid

YONKERS, N.Y., June 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new Consumer Reports investigation into hearing aids has found that consumers pay high prices and get mediocre fittings. The new report -- the first such report on hearing aids since 1992 -- offers a comprehensive guide to purchasing and owning a hearing aid.

The report, to be published in the July issue of Consumer Reports and online at www.consumerreportsenespanol.org, provides a step-by-step guide to purchasing and owning a hearing aid. For its report, Consumer Reports followed a dozen hearing-impaired patients for six months as they shopped for and used hearing aids; lab-tested the features of 44 hearing aids; and conducted a national survey of 1,100 people who had bought a hearing aid in the last three years. The survey was conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

Consumer Reports' shoppers purchased two pairs of hearing aids each, or 48 aids in all, ranging from $1,800 to $6,800 per pair, including professional fitting and follow-up services, in the New York City metropolitan area. The right fit did not come easily. Consumer Reports had audiologists check to see how well providers fit shoppers' hearing aids to their individual hearing loss. Two-thirds of the 48 aids purchased were misfit: They amplified too little or too much. And yet, according to the national survey, a resounding 73% of hearing aid users were highly satisfied with their aids, suggesting many individuals may be so pleased with improved hearing that they do not seek out fine tuning of their aids, potentially missing out on an even better fit.

The survey also underscored the lack of information that's reaching consumers about which features are valuable
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SOURCE Consumer Reports
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