A while ago, I received a telemarketing phone call that asked if anyone in my household had hearing loss. Since I am an audiologist, I wanted to see where this call went, so I told the caller that I had a hearing loss. She went on to ask me some more questions about whether I had difficulty hearing in a group or if I needed to turn the TV louder. She also asked if I had pain or discharge in my ears, and I told her yes. Oddly, even though I told her I had pain and discharge in my ears, she still felt like I was a candidate for their free 45-day trial of a hearing aid and would I please hold for the representative. I said sure!
The representative said that I could get a free 45-day trial on an FDA-approved hearing aid. He was talking very quickly and I could hardly get any questions answered, but finally I was able to ask a few things. He had mentioned that they would send me a fitting kit, and I asked who was going to help me. He said, “No worries, I will send you the fitting kit with different tips so you can find one that fits.”
Then I asked him how I could get a hearing test if he was calling from a different state. I thought for sure he would tell me to go see an audiologist to have my hearing tested, but he didn’t! He said, “No hearing test is required. Hearing tests are what doctors do to make money.”
I could not believe what I just heard! So I launched a lot of questions at him. “What if I have wax in my ears? What if I have an ear infection? What if I have a medical condition that needs not a hearing aid but rather some surgery? What if I have an acoustic neuroma?” Then I told him they had called an audiologist. He told me to have a nice day and hung up the phone!
There are so many reasons why people need to be tested by their audiologist before getting hearing aids. I wish the general public understood this. It is so very wrong for a company to give such poor advice to people who just don’t know.