Joining other big box stores offering hearing aids, Walmart offers a line of affordable over-the-counter hearing aids that is marketed to consumers who are on a budget or are looking to experience how hearing aids can improve their hearing without shelling out a significant amount of money.
Are Walmart hearing aids worth buying?
Hearing loss is a complex medical concern that needs expert and personalized care from an audiologist.
It’s just like having bad eyesight – there are various reading glasses available, but you need to see an eye doctor to ensure that you get the correct reading glass prescription, otherwise, your eyesight will not improve, or may even get worse.
While Walmart hearing aids may seem to be cost-efficient and accessible hearing solutions, it is still best to consult with an audiologist and get a comprehensive hearing evaluation. This way, you can receive a customized treatment plan.
Are Walmart hearing aids “real” hearing aids?
With all the available hearing aids on the market today, it can be quite overwhelming trying to wade through different brands and models. There are some hearing aid sellers that market their hearing aids as “real” hearing aids when, in reality, the device merely works as a glorified amplifier.
In fairness to Walmart, they do offer real hearing aids, in the sense that the items are registered with the FDA. However, you must keep in mind that most Walmart hearing aids are designed to help improve hearing for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss.
It is important to know the difference between FDA-registered hearing aids and cheap sound amplifiers that are falsely marketed as hearing aids. Sound amplifiers are not designed to treat hearing loss and are not FDA-registered hearing aids. In short, they simply amplify sound, literally all sounds, which is not actually very helpful for a person whose hearing loss is only present at specific pitches.
If you happen to see a product marketed as a hearing aid with a very low price compared to traditional hearing aids, chances are that the product is merely a sound amplifier. These products do NOT provide the same level of hearing correction as prescription hearing aids.
Audiologists dispense and recommend only FDA-registered hearing aids that have gone through rigorous testing and are approved to treat and manage hearing loss. These devices are designed to provide personalized amplification and can help people with hearing loss to better understand speech and other ambient sounds.
How to purchase a legitimate hearing aid?
To ensure that you are purchasing a legitimate hearing aid, you need to look for key features, starting with an FDA registration number. The source of the device is also a big determinant of whether it is a legitimate hearing aid or not.
Most legitimate hearing aids are available from an audiology clinic or hearing aid dispenser. Real hearing aids also come with a warranty and can be customized to fit specific hearing needs.
Be wary of “over-the-counter” or “direct-to-consumer” hearing aids that claim to be FDA-registered and highlight the fact that you don’t need to visit an audiologist for fitting and adjustments. This is a huge “red flag.” They do not provide the same level of hearing correction as a hearing aid programmed by an audiologist.
Are Walmart hearing aids any good?
Walmart hearing aids may be an affordable, temporary, hearing solution for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss. However, to make an informed decision, it is a must to weigh the pros and cons of Walmart hearing aids before making a purchase.
Affordable: Walmart hearing aids are priced lower than prescription hearing aids, primarily because it lacks the expertise of an audiologist or hearing healthcare professional who can recommend, fit, and program hearing aids.
Convenient: With numerous outlets all over the country, it is easy to purchase Walmart hearing aids at your most accessible location.
Limited professional support: Walmart hearing aids may not provide the same level of customization as hearing aids from an audiologist. Fitting and programming are key components in hearing aid success.
Limited brands and models: If you are looking for premium hearing aids that have advanced or powerful features, you should skip Walmart and other big box stores and schedule an appointment at your local audiology clinic instead. Walmart hearing aids usually just include basic hearing aids and amplifiers.
Do cheap hearing aids work?
The performance of cheap hearing aids vary depending on an individual’s hearing requirements and combined with the specific features of the hearing device.
While there are cheap hearing aids that may provide some level of amplification, you should manage your expectations when it comes to its capability of enhancing speech clarity, improving hearing ability, or reducing background noise.
Realistically speaking, cheap hearing aids do not and cannot offer the same level of performance as higher-end or prescription hearing aids. For example, the ability to hear in noisy environments is a prevalent challenge for individuals with hearing loss. Cheap hearing aids are not equipped with features to address highly-challenging listening situations. If anything, cheap hearing aids are just glorified versions of amplification devices.
Some individuals may settle with a cheap hearing aid as a “first-aid” solution while they undergo further testing with a licensed audiologist or save up for a premium hearing aid – and there’s nothing wrong with that.
However, as practicing audiologists, we want you to make an informed decision, and that includes entrusting your auditory concerns to a licensed audiologist.
Why you should consult with an audiologist
Audiologists have the training and knowledge to assess hearing needs and provide tailored recommendations based on a hearing test. They can recommend, fit, and program hearing aid adjustments and provide ongoing support to ensure your hearing aids are providing the best possible outcomes.
Audiologists and Hearing Aids | Abilene, TX
At Abilene Audiology Co., we offer comprehensive hearing evaluations and personalized hearing solutions from our expert audiologists. Our goal is to provide the best possible hearing improvement so you can enjoy every sound, every moment of your life!
Audiologists at Abilene Audiology Co. will work with you from hearing evaluations, hearing aid selection to ongoing support and after-care services.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment!