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When it comes time to buy hearing aids, you’ll find many retail options, from local audiologists to big box retailers to online stores. So how do you know which is the right fit for you?

For many customers, convenience and selection factor into their decision, but price is typically the deciding factor. And with the average hearing aid price more than $4,500—even reaching $6,000 to $8,000—it’s not hard to understand why.

Because of this, we’re big believers in the online retail model for high performance hearing aids. With the better online retailers like Embrace Hearing, customers benefit from the same level of customer service and personalized attention as in-person retailers at a fraction of the cost—and they never have to leave their living room.

As we’ve discussed in , brick and mortar retailers cover high overhead costs associated to their retail location by passing them onto customers when they buy their hearing aids. Online retailers aren’t burdened by those heavy fixed costs so they can sell at just above wholesale prices.

Buying online isn’t the right fit for every customer, but here’s why we believe it’s a good alternative for many:

Buying hearing aids online guarantees lower prices. Retailers like Embrace Hearing can afford to sell hearing aids at a lower price than brick and mortar retailers because they don’t have to pay high costs for overhead expenses like rent, retail staff salaries, or equipment. In fact, AARP has found that these expenses can account for more than $2,000 of the sticker price on hearing aids at typical brick and mortar retailers.

Buying hearing aids online is convenient and easy. While your local audiologist or big box retailer is often only a drive away, ordering online is even easier. Simply submit the results of your most recent hearing test and our audiology staff can assist you in choosing, and then custom programming, the right hearing aid for your hearing loss needs.

Buying hearing aids online doesn’t mean sacrificing quality or service. Buying hearing aids from a quality online retailer like Embrace Hearing means you’re buying the latest in European hearing aid technology at close to wholesale prices. It also means your hearing aids will be custom programmed by our experienced audiology team, who ensure that your devices meet the exact needs laid out in your hearing test results.

Buying hearing aids online is risk-free. Once it comes time to buy, you have 45 days to try out the hearing aids risk-free. If you are not completely satisfied, you can return them for a full refund.

Though many of us buy products from the Internet frequently, when it comes time to buy hearing aids, you might wonder if buying online is the best option.

After all, don’t hearing aids require precise configuration by an audiologist, as well as a chance to test the aids to make sure they are a good fit for your needs?

Yes, both those steps are essential—and you don’t lose out on either by ordering hearing aids online.

With a local retailer, you benefit from a hands-on interaction with the hearing aids, plus a convenient brick and mortar location. But you also pay for that convenience, as prices are routinely two to three times higher than buying directly from the manufacturer.

While buying online isn’t quite as convenient as buying from a local retailer, you can purchase a hearing aid directly from home using the same process as buying in-store. For example:

When you buy hearing aids online, your aids will always be programmed based on your latest hearing test. We ask all of our customers to submit the results of their most recent hearing test, so we can ensure that our audiology team is programming your hearing aids to meet your exact specifications. This ensures you’re buying the most appropriate technology for your specific hearing loss challenges.

When you buy hearing aids online, you still benefit from a trained audiologist. Online retailers like Embrace Hearing feature trained, fully certified audiologists on staff to ensure that your hearing aids are precisely programmed based on the specifications from your hearing test. This is standard procedure for any hearing aid purchase from a reputable retailer. If you are considering buying from a retailer who does not work with an audiologist, find an alternate option.

When you buy hearing aids online, you have a chance to try the aids to make sure they meet your needs. When buying from Embrace Hearing, you always have a 45-day window to try out your new hearing aids and ensure they are the right fit for your needs. If your new hearing aids don't meet your needs, we will re-program and adjust the aids as required. If you are still not satisfied, you can return them within 45 days for a full refund.

When you buy hearing aids online, you can always speak with a real person. With Embrace Hearing, you can always speak to a real person who can offer advice and insight into your upcoming purchase. We provide a fully-staffed phone hotline in addition to a free consultation—simply send us your audiogram and we’ll offer our recommendations for the right hearing aid to buy for your needs.

Most people don’t start shopping for hearing aids until they need them—in fact, research shows that the average hearing loss sufferer waits a decade before finally buying a pair.

So most people have very little knowledge of how much a hearing aid actually costs, and the number may shock them when they find out: as of 2014, the average price for a pair of hearing aids is roughly $4,500, with prices often reaching $6,000 to even $8,000. The New York Times has looked for solutions: The hunt for an affordable hearing aid. And AARP have also written about why the average cost is so high: Why do hearing aids cost so much?.

Why do hearing aids cost so much, and are there other, more affordable options available?

Part of the cost of a hearing aid comes from the complex technology that powers many modern electronic devices, including processors, microchips, and receivers, developed in labs around the world.

But much of the sticker price of a hearing aid—and the reason costs can be so high—comes from the way hearing aids are sold.

Hearing aid retail shops must cover costs that come from running a “brick-and-mortar” storefront, including rent, equipment, and staff salaries. In addition, they typically serve only a select local customer base so these exceptionally high fixed costs must be spread over very few customer orders.

With online retailers like Embrace Hearing, buyers get access to the same quality audiologist programmed hearing aid technology they could find at a brick-and-mortar retailer, but at a cost of thousands of dollars less. Why? Embrace Hearing keeps costs down by:

  1. Buying directly from the German manufacturer
  2. Selling exclusively online, thus enabling high volume through an international customer base
  3. Eliminating the costs of retail storefronts and retail staff while maintaining a highly experienced audiology and customer service team

In fact, Embrace Hearing delivers hearing aids directly to your home for about 1/3 of the cost charged by the typical local retailer. That’s a savings of $2,500 - $4,000.

For many, shopping online cuts down on the cost of hearing aids in terms of both time and money, while ensuring the same level of quality and experienced 24/7 service and professional reliability you would find at your local hearing aid retailer.


We all know we should be getting more exercise, regardless of our age; but more often than not, we find myriad reasons not to put our health first. Don’t let your hearing aid become yet another excuse not to stay in shape. With proper care and maintenance, your hearing aids should remain in tiptop shape whether you like to jog around town, bike through the park, or spend a day on the golf course.

Keeping your hearing aids dry during exercise

 The biggest challenge facing hearing aids during exercise is the buildup of moisture that can harm delicate internal circuitry. While you clearly can’t take your hearing aids for a dip in the pool, with some basic steps they can accompany you on a run or onto the court.

The biggest source of moisture while exercising isn’t surprising: it’s sweat—and it can harm your hearing aids if you don’t take some simple precautions.

Researchers, including Ronald Schow at the University of Idaho, have found that Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aids are vulnerable when “beads of perspiration form in the hair along the top of the hearing aid” and gradually seep inside.

Therefore, keeping sweat from reaching the circuitry of the BTE hearing aid is the most important step in keeping your devices working problem-free even as you exercise.

Luckily, there are some cost-effective solutions to prevent sweat from penetrating the aid. Among the most popular are special sweat-resistant pouches made just for your hearing aids. One such option is Ear Gear, which slips over your hearing aid and prevents moisture from entering into the electronics.

An even easier solution is to wear a headband or sweatband while exercising, which can help keep sweat from reaching your hearing aids in the first place.


Protecting your hearing aids during exercise

Though moisture is the biggest threat to hearing aids, it’s worth remembering that even the best-fitted aids can come loose during a rough-and-tumble session on the basketball court or the football field and can risk being damaged.

To help avoid accidentally knocking your hearing aids loose, you can use a product such as the Oto Clip, which attaches to your hearing aids and then clips onto your clothes.

Clothes, too, make a difference in the protection of your hearing aids. Sara Batinovich, who wrote a book on managing hearing loss, recommends investing in zip-front sweatshirts rather than hooded varieties, which can disturb your hearing aid placement. She also reminds that bike helmets and even baseball hats need to be carefully sized to avoid interfering with a comfortable hearing aid fit.

Caring for your hearing aids after exercise

Once your workout is complete, it’s a good idea to take a few rudimentary steps to ensure that your hearing aid is properly clean and dry and ready for your next adventure.

One piece of equipment is especially useful in helping maintain your hearing aids after they’ve been exposed to moisture is a "Dry Box". By storing your hearing aids in one of these self-contained drying units overnight, you’re ensuring that any remaining moisture in the aid is safely removed. Many units also sanitize the aids as well, ensuring that no bacteria grows inside the aid or the tubing while it is damp.

In addition to the dry box, a simple cleaning is always good practice after wearing your hearing aids during exercise. You can help remove moisture from the tubing by using a compressed air canister and can brush dirt and debris free of the hearing aid with a small cleaning kit.

As with any piece of technology, if you invest time in maintaining your hearing aids after you use them, you’ll extend their lifetime and help identify potential issues much faster.

While exercise with your hearing aids requires some planning, hearing aids can be safely worn during your favorite (non-aquatic) sport. In fact, being able to properly hear can be a huge asset for your own safety—and it might even improve your performance on the golf course, too.


Hearing loss can come in many forms and levels of severity: a slight ringing in your ears or difficulty hearing high-pitched voices all the way up to challenges hearing the majority of sounds. But no matter the severity, it’s important to understand how hearing loss actually works and the steps you can take to cope with it, whether it’s key questions to ask your physician or ways to manage your important relationships.

To truly understand hearing loss, it helps to understand how we hear in the first place. Remember, when dealing with your health, equipping yourself with the proper information can be enormously empowering. If you understand the issue, it’s much easier to figure out how to cope with it.

How Hearing Works

When we hear a sound, we are actually interpreting sound waves that enter our ears and reach our brain via nerves. Sound waves travel into the ear via the ear canal and through the eardrum, which passes vibrations through a series of small bones into the inner ear. Once sound reaches the inner ear, thousands of hair cells pass the waves to the auditory nerve, which carries it to the brain.

How Hearing Loss Works

Over time, the component parts of the ear can begin to fail. One of the most common age-related issues is the gradual loss of hair cells in the inner ear, making it more difficult for sound waves to travel through the inner ear and into the brain. This process can be exacerbated by years of exposure to loud noises (such as live music and gas powered motors or machinery), which can cause a buildup of damage in the ear.

The National Institutes of Health estimates that nearly 50% of adults over age 75 have some form of age-related hearing loss.

There are other complications that can lead to hearing loss, too, although age-related loss is most common. Infections, trauma to the head, tumors, and severe allergies can all play a role in a loss of hearing ability.

It’s important, if you think you’re suffering from hearing loss, to consult your physician, who will likely recommend a hearing test to better understand the type and severity of your loss.

How to Cope: Ask Questions

Once you find out that you’re suffering from hearing loss—and have an understanding of why it’s happening—it’s time to figure out what to do next.

One of the most important steps in the process is to consult with your physician and the audiologist who carried out your hearing test. They can examine your audiogram (the graphical results of your hearing test) to determine the most appropriate next steps.

For many hearing loss sufferers, perhaps the best first step they can take is to simply ask questions. Here are a few common questions you may want to consider asking your doctor or audiologist:

  • How severe is my hearing loss? Though you may think you understand how severe your hearing loss is, your physician or audiologist has access to diagnostic tools that can provide you answers with much greater detail. For example, an audiogram can reveal the severity of hearing loss through multiple measurements—so make sure to ask your physician or audiologist to explain the severity of your hearing loss to you and provide you with your test results.
  • Why should I treat my hearing loss? One of the most common questions facing many hearing loss sufferers is why they should treat their hearing loss at all, as many have figured out coping mechanisms to deal with their hearing issues. But most doctors and audiologists will tell you that hearing loss left untreated can result in everything from social isolation to trouble with balance and movement. For example, a 2012 study found that hearing loss even at low levels tripled the risk of falls, while another found it doubled the risk of developing dementia.
  • Am I a good candidate for hearing aids? Many hearing loss sufferers believe that hearing aids will restore their hearing to the same level they enjoyed prior to loss. While hearing aids can be a major step forward in terms of quality of life and overall health, not every hearing loss sufferer is a good candidate for using them. Make sure to ask a hearing professional whether your type of hearing loss is the right fit for hearing aids. If your doctor does recommend hearing aids, don’t be daunted by the retail sticker price of $4000 to $7000. High-quality hearing aids can be purchased online, at retailers like Embrace Hearing, for about $1,500 to $2,000. 


How To Cope: Take Care of Yourself

“Hearing loss can create a psychological solitary confinement,” wrote Dr. Claudia Dewane, who suffers hearing loss herself and counsels others through the process. Despite this, Dewane notes, “many older adults with hearing loss deny the disability or the impact it exerts on their quality of life.”

Dewane and other professionals urge hearing loss sufferers—whether they have struggled with hearing loss for a long time or are suddenly learning to cope with it—to make recognizing the issue the first, and most crucial, step.

While this may seem obvious, statistics say otherwise: an estimated 22 million Americans suffer from hearing loss but don’t seek out hearing aids for help.

If you’re able to recognize that your hearing loss is an issue, you can take positive steps to help yourself cope mentally, too, including:

  • finding a support group or engaging with your peers who also suffer hearing loss;
  • learning more about hearing loss and the technologies that exist to help, including hearing aids and hearing loops;
  • visiting a therapist, counselor or other professional who can help teach coping strategies, including boosting your self-esteem.

        For many people, hearing loss is a natural part of life—but that doesn’t mean you can’t understand it and learn how to cope with its effects. The more you know about your own hearing loss, the more proactive you can be in finding solutions that work for you.

        When neuroscientists talk about the brain’s flexibility, they often use the term “plasticity.” What they mean is that your brain is able to adapt to changes it experiences over your lifetime, so that as your circumstances change, so does the way your brain works.

        Researchers have studied how the brains of the blind have reconfigured themselves to cope without sight, and how other circumstances can lead the brain to favor one capability over another. They have even found that London’s famed cab drivers have brains better adapted to navigating the city’s streets.

        So what does this mean if you are suffering hearing loss?

        First, the good news: your brain will adapt to your loss of hearing. A research team found in 2015 that even in people suffering from mild hearing loss, the parts of the brain responsible for hearing are instead increasingly used for vision or touch, senses that are likely to become more acute to compensate for the loss of your ability to hear.

        “Cross-modal recruitment of the hearing portion of the brain by the senses of vision and touch happens not only in deaf patients, but is also clearly apparent in adult patients with only a mild degree of hearing loss,” researcher Anu Sharma of the University of Colorado told the Acoustical Society of America when announcing her findings.

        In other words, even small amounts of hearing loss can lead the brain to compensate for its new handicap.

        But now, the bad news: even though the brain is trying to adapt to its new reality, it may actually inadvertently be doing damage. That same 2015 study indicates that when the portion of the brain devoted to hearing shrinks with hearing loss, the brain must devote additional resources to processing any sound at all. Though there isn’t a clear understanding of the impact of this “cognitive overload,” the research team believes that it might account for the high rates of dementia among patients who also experience hearing loss as they grow older.

        Now the good news: the sooner you get hearing aids, the better it is for your brain.

        The moral of the story is clear to Sharma and her colleagues: anyone experiencing even mild hearing loss should seek medical help to make sure they aren’t making harder to improve their hearing in the long term.

        “Given that even small degrees of hearing loss can cause secondary changes in the brain, hearing screenings for adults and intervention in the form of hearing aids should be considered much earlier to protect against reorganization of the brain,” she advised.

        And just like your brain adapted to life with hearing loss, it will also adapt to life with improved hearing courtesy of hearing aids. But the process can take some time. Most audiologists advise wearing your hearing aids consistently to give your brain ample time to re-adjust to hearing certain sounds.

        The brain is highly adaptable and tries to adjust to limitations as best it can. But do your brain a favor and seek the help you need to understand and treat your hearing loss, if possible. You’ll be doing yourself—and your brain—a favor.

        The single most essential step in finding the right hearing aid begins before you even start shopping. It’s the hearing test, an audiologist-administered exam that determines the severity and type of hearing loss you or a loved one might be experiencing.

        And though it can sound daunting, the test itself shouldn’t be a cause for anxiety. Instead, a well-administered exam can help you answer some crucial questions and put you on the path towards better hearing.

        To help you prepare for a hearing test, here are some commonly asked questions from test participants:

        What does a hearing test really measure? Hearing tests look for the amount of sound a person can hear via their inner ear. During the hearing process, sound waves hit the inner ear as vibrations, triggering nerves to send signals to the brain, which interprets the noise. With hearing loss, those waves don’t reach your brain as effectively, often due to difficulties within the inner ear or the nerves transmitting signals to the brain. A hearing test can diagnose how effectively sound is traveling through your inner ear by measuring a variety of factors, which, when combined, present a portrait of your current level of hearing ability.

        How does a hearing test work? A hearing test often consists of a series of exams conducted by a trained audiologist. Among the most common types of hearing exams are: 

        Hearing a tone: Typically an audiologist will transmit a sound tone set at multiple pitches (how high or low the sound seems to your brain) to study how you hear at different frequencies.

        Hearing a whisper: An audiologist will often test your ability to hear spoken speech by speaking (or playing a recording of someone else speaking) at different volume levels. They may also have you repeat words back to them to test your perception.

        Testing your brain’s response to sound: Hearing tests frequently include an exam that studies the electrical stimulation within the brain to sound waves, which helps audiologists determine how much sound information your brain is receiving.

        A typical hearing test takes about 30 to 40 minutes to complete. Hearing tests can cost anything from $0 to $150 but are often—although not always—covered by insurance. Check with your health insurance provider to determine your coverage. If there are out-of-pocket costs, Costco provides hearing tests free of charge.

        What’s an audiogram, and how do I read it? An audiogram is the series of graphic results that are given to you after you complete your hearing test, and which are also used to program hearing aids, should you need them. You’ll receive one audiogram which shows results for both your ears, graphed independently of each other so you can see how each ear responds to sound.

        Make sure you ask your audiologist for help interpreting your audiogram results. Audiograms show a variety of data in a line graph format, with the pitch (how high or low a sound seems to your brain) graphed vertically and the intensity (or volume of a sound) graphed horizontally.

        You’ll also find that audiograms typically have a score for your ability to recognize spoken words, too, which is listed separately.

        Audiograms are essential components of a hearing test. Make sure you’re confident that you fully understand your results before leaving your audiologist. You may also ask the audiologist to explain what spectrum of hearing loss you’re experiencing, which will help in determining if a hearing aid is right for you (or if your type of hearing loss can be improved by a hearing aid at all.)

        Be sure to get a copy of your test. This is your healthcare information so they are legally required to give you a copy and you will need it to shop around.  

        How important are hearing tests? A hearing test is a vital step in determining whether you have hearing loss and, if so, how to treat it. It’s a relatively quick process that can result in crucial information about your health.

        Too many hearing loss sufferers delay receiving a hearing test. “Every hearing health professional is familiar with the statistics that show a delay of seven to 10 years or more between the time an older person first suspects a hearing loss and professional help is sought,” notes audiologist Dr. Arlene Carson.

        Yet once administered, hearing tests can equip a hearing loss sufferer with important information that can later be used to properly program hearing aids and inform doctors about the current state of their hearing.

        Who should conduct your test? If you suspect that you may be experiencing hearing loss, ask your regular doctor or someone else you trust for a recommendation of a local audiologist. Look for a local clinic where you can get a complete test with personal service. Above all, though, make sure you choose someone who makes you comfortable and is open, honest, and willing to tackle any questions you may have.

        Any questions? Please call Embrace Hearing at (888) 929-9555 for help.


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