You are not required to get a hearing test when you purchase Walmart hearing aids. This is a red flag, especially for individuals with severe to profound hearing loss.
Over-the-counter hearing aids, such as Walmart hearing aids, are one option for consumers looking to purchase a pair of “affordable” hearing aids.
Having easy access to affordable hearing aids may seem too good to be true. Typically when something seems too good to be true, it is. So, what’s the negative of purchasing Walmart hearing aids? For the best hearing experience, a hearing aid needs to be fitted by an audiologist. Patients who have previously purchased a hearing aid based only on aesthetics or affordability (such as those available at Walmart), have found that ultimately they have wasted their time and money because their hearing needs are not adequately met.
If you frequent big box stores, then you likely know that they offer amazing deals and discounts, especially for bulk purchases. However, they have ventured into the hearing aid market, which causes concern in the professional hearing healthcare community as the needs of people with hearing loss may not be met with these devices.
Walmart offers a mix of hearing aid models. Some models are FDA registered while others simply work as a mere amplifier. It can be hard for consumers to determine which one they are purchasing.
Consumers who are not knowledgeable about hearing aids or hearing accessories are likely to end up buying a device that won’t give them maximum benefit.
Here is our analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing Walmart hearing aids:
Two of the best-selling Walmart hearing aids are Hearing Assist and MDHearingAid. If you search these two brands on the internet, they are quite popular and have gotten the attention of adults and seniors who have hearing loss.
Hearing Assist hearing aids have been getting mixed reviews on various consumer review websites. On Walmart’s official website, Hearing Assist has an average rating of 3.7 out 5. Some of the most repetitive complaints involved “squealing” noises and feedback that prompted users to return or stop using the hearing aids.
MDHearingAid AIR is marketed for people with mild to moderately-severe hearing loss. It is FDA-registered which makes it one of the most viable options of Walmart hearing aids. These devices are also marketed as “smart” hearing aids, but if you compare them to reputable “smart” hearing aids, they don’t match up. If you really want to use high-powered hearing aids with advanced features like Bluetooth compatibility, powerful noise reduction, a dedicated app, and more, it’s best that you get a recommendation from an audiologist.
Walmart hearing aids fall in the category of over-the-counter hearing aids. As hearing healthcare professionals, we always advocate for the consumer. This means that we promote a detailed and comprehensive process of hearing testing, hearing diagnostics, hearing aid fitting, programming of the device, and cleaning and maintenance processes aimed to extend device life.
If you weigh the pros and cons of OTC hearing aids compared with those that are prescribed, you will find that the functionality and efficiency of the prescribed ones consistently outperform. With prescribed hearing aids, you know that you are getting what you need and want without any second-guessing. You are also confident that if you ever encounter an issue with the device, the audiology clinic that fitted you will be more than willing to assist with finding a resolution.
Prices of Walmart hearing aids range from $499 to $1,800 per pair. While browsing through various models, you may also notice some devices ressemble hearing aids but cost significantly less than an FDA-registered hearing aid, typically sold for $100 or less. These devices are hearing amplifiers, not hearing aids.
Just like other big box stores, such as Costco, there are decent hearing aids sold at Walmart. However, as a consumer, you need to be very meticulous in your selection. Don’t be quick to purchase a device that screams “big savings” because it is possible you’re looking at an amplifier, not a hearing aid.
If you want to purchase a high-performing hearing device, your best option is to consult with an audiologist.
Some of the hearing aids sold at Walmart are real hearing aids. However, they also sell inexpensive sound amplifiers, so you have to be very careful in choosing a device.
At Walmart, some of the devices sold are FDA-registered while others are not. If you’re looking to try a pair of Walmart hearing aids, make sure you are equipped with the knowledge of the difference between affordable FDA-registered hearing aids and sound amplifiers.
Be sure to check the label. Don’t just settle with the price tag; check the label to get more information about the product.
When you purchase a hearing aid, you need to be confident that you are getting the right device for your hearing loss. Need help in choosing a hearing aid? Longmont Hearing and Tinnitus Center can help! Call us today to schedule an appointment!