May 19, 2024

A Cautionary Tale

Buyer’s remorse is a feeling of regret or anxiety after making a purchase.

A client we saw January 2023, decided not to proceed with the management programme we proposed to address his hearing loss. His decision was driven by the misleading marketing of hearing aids he found online. 

We provided all the information he requested and also explained how we set our fees. We believe in being 100% transparent, honest and truthful with our clients and various stakeholders. In spite of all this, he made the decision to go elsewhere, which we fully understand. 


We all make decisions every single day: some because we understand what we are doing and agreeing to;  some because we believe we are acting in our own best interests and others because we have been misguided or, sadly sometimes, misled.

There are many reasons why the distribution of hearing aids has changed over the years we have been operating. Some of those reasons are for the better but some leave clients more exposed to making a bad decision. Hearing aid technology is now more advanced than the simple basic amplifiers we started off fitting back in the 1970’s. Today they are technological marvels built on digital architecture with tens of millions of transistors capable of making hundreds of millions of calculations every second whilst incorporating artificial intelligence… a buzzword today but it might surprise you to learn, something which has been inherent in hearing aid design for more than two decades. Hearing aids are truly ahead of their time. 

You might also not be surprised to learn then that they are not that simple to fit and set up.

Hearing aids don’t work ‘out of the box’. So you really need an expert if you are planning to invest in hearing aids that perform as well as they possibly can. There are companies out there who don’t want you to know this. They operate at the other end of the spectrum to Hearing Healthcare Practice. They present hearing aids as simple electronic products that you select, buy, put on, and they then work. If only life were that simple.

The client we mentioned, Peter, took that route.

He was attracted by the price so he sent his hearing chart by email with the promise their experts would set up the hearing aids and send them back to him in the post. Offers of money back guarantees made it all the more attractive. What could possibly go wrong?  Well, the hearing aids turned up. He fitted them himself following the instructions and then ….. nothing. He sent emails, which were answered and advice proffered. But his struggles continued. The website extolled the virtues of paying to see a private audiologist to carry out real ear evaluation and more in depth guidance. This was the correct advice, but Peter couldn’t find anyone who would provide that service. Most audiologists will not see someone with hearing aids provided elsewhere (or their fees are set at a sufficiently high enough level to dissuade most people). 

So his struggles continued. Week after week, month after month. He described everything as being distorted and many times, the hearing aids more of a hindrance than a benefit. And so it was that he turned to us once more for help, which is when the story took an unexpected turn. We never turn anyone away and actively promote the fact that we are happy to provide a second opinion and will refit and set-up hearing aids provided by someone else, if we are able to. We charge our regular fees for this service as opposed to penalising someone for going elsewhere.

Something’s Wrong

On the day of Peter’s appointment, we discovered his hearing aids are high quality, and well known to us. A few hours of effort and several appointments later, we were confident we could have them and him work better with each other!  On inspection though, we discovered he was suffering with a different clinical condition in each ear which could only be found by examination and, then, requiring treatment. This would impact how well the hearing aids could perform. We attempted to connect the hearing aids to our specialist software so that we could see how they had been programmed and whether this was suitable for the hearing loss he had presented with the year before.  The hearing aids were ‘unrecognised’ which took us by surprise as this shouldn’t happen. Somehow the hearing aids had been ‘altered’ and we’re still trying to get to the bottom of how and why this should be. The manufacturer is as dumbfounded as we are. Whether we can find a way to unlock them we still don’t know.

Our next approach was to place the hearing aids in a test chamber which would emulate how they perform when worn on the ear. The frequency response and volume were both totally non-specific for Peter’s hearing loss, explaining why he had experienced nothing but distortion. They were set completely the opposite way to what was actually needed.

And so now Peter is ready to throw the towel in and has asked us to ‘start again from the beginning’ for him. The hearing aids he purchased have ended up a false economy.  Although Hearing Healthcare Practice condemns the non-clinical methods some companies employ in the distribution of hearing aids, we fully appreciate it is the client’s prerogative to make a decision to suit their situation. In this case, cost was the defining factor and now, with the luxury of hind sight the client is regretting his decision along with the frustration of struggling to hear, the lost sixteen months and the financial impact of his decision.

We hope this cautionary tale is just that. If we can help you, why not contact Hertfordshire hearing experts for some proper advice. Contact us here to make an appointment with one of our team.