“Should I repair or replace a broken hearing aid?” is one of the more common questions we are asked. The only possible answer is “Depends.” It is really an individual decision, and the “correct answer” is as individual as the people who ask it.
It is worthwhile to state in advance, that all hearing aids, irrespective of their original price or quality, can be expected to break down eventually. The environment that hearing aids inhabit – your ear canals – is an inhospitable one for advanced electronic devices, full of ear wax (cerumen) and moisture. Ear wax is produced naturally, and we need it because it guards the lining of our ear canals, but it can “gum up the works” of hearing aids; likewise, residual moisture is natural after swimming or bathing, but it too can harm hearing aids. Add to these 2 factors breakage (from inadvertently dropping the hearing aids) and natural wear and tear (as inner tubing or components wear out), and you can be fairly certain that sooner or later your hearing aid will require either repair or replacement.
Probably the major thing you should think about when making the “repair or replace” determination is how you feel about your present hearing aids – do you like them, and the sound they produce? If you do (as many wearers of older analog hearing aids do), it may be easier for you to have them fixed rather than switch to newer digital hearing aids with a notably different set of sound characteristics.
Another factor to consider, obviously, is cost – whereas a new set of hearing aids might cost thousands of dollars, your current aids might cost only a few hundred dollars to repair. Balancing this, however, some people have insurance coverage that will fully or partly cover the expense of new hearing aids, but which will not cover repairing them.
If you choose to have your hearing aids repaired, another question that arises is, “Should I take them to the place I bought them from, or send them to one of the many repair labs who advertise online?” While online advertisers will try paint your hometown hearing professional as just a middle-man, that’s not accurate. There are numerous advantages to staying local. To begin with, they can establish if repairs are actually necessary. Second, they may be able to get the repairs completed on site decreasing the length of time you are without your hearing aid. For hearing aid repairs which can’t be completed locally, your hearing specialist will manage the shipping, paperwork and lab directions for you. Because they work in bulk with manufacturers, their pricing may be the same or better than you could get yourself.
Far more options are open to those who decide to replace their current hearing aids. You’ll want to be open-minded about new designs and technology acknowledging that anything new takes some getting used to. More modern hearing aids are more compact and provide enhanced programability to achieve the sound quality you want. So the choice whether to “replace or repair” is still yours to make, but we hope this advice will assist you.