As millions of baby boomers prepare to enter retirement age — nearly a third of them with sustained hearing damage — the Federal Trade Commission is cautioning hard-of-hearing seniors to practice awareness of common hearing aid scams.

“Buying a hearing aid online or through the mall is risky,” writes the FTC. “An aid needs to be custom fitted and tested to be sure it’s working properly.”

The FTC goes on to provide guidelines for hearing aid contracts, emphasizing the importance of a 30- to 60-day trial period (a legal requisite in most states) and a clearly spelled-out warranty. At The Hearing and Balance Clinic, we offer trials as long as 75 days.

A number of people have come forward with stories about confusing contracts or bait-and-switch schemes. They’ll see an ad in the paper for a $300 hearing aid, but when they go to that dispenser, they have someone pushing them to buy a completely different model.

The Food and Drug Administration enforces its own rules around the sale of hearing aids, most of which focus on a single theme: getting a patient to see a hearing health professional before buying a hearing aid. Proper testing and fitting can make a world of difference. You can’t apply a “one size fits all” approach to something as important as hearing.

It’s important to get all the facts before purchasing hearing aids. If you have any questions, please contact us – we’re happy to help you on your journey to better hearing!