All about my hearing aid purchase

Stephanie Ziebarth

Well, proud owner may not be quite the way to put it. However, it was a major purchase. In fact, you could get a quality used car for less. And the car would likely last longer.

Alas, I have entered the bittersweet realm of needing hearing aids.

This journey has been a major part of my life this summer. For today, let me focus on just one aspect of that journey: making the actual purchase.

On June 26th, something changed with my hearing. That is a story for another day, but this event was the final factor in pushing me toward hearing aids. I naturally followed my doctor's direction toward the office affiliated with her practice.

I had a very positive experience there. I learned a lot, was treated with gentleness and respect, and was introduced to the possibilities of re-entering the hearing world (which is definitely a story worth sharing another time). But the anticipated price tag left me a little breathless: $6,000, not counting batteries (which need to be changed approximately weekly), and the hearing aids would probably only last five to six years.

Regardless, I needed my hearing (my insurance company may not think it is important, but my family does), so I signed up for a trial.

I tried two different hearing aids through this hearing care center (you might be amazed by the choices). As I experienced the major adjustment to using hearing aids, I also prayed about how we were going to pay for these new items. I kept thinking back to a place I had visited years ago: All About Hearing (http://www.allabouthearingpa.com/).

I actually profiled this Greencastle business for a local newspaper many years ago. I remember being impressed, feeling this new owner, David Kaufmann, seemed like a decent man–someone not looking to get rich, but to make a living while helping people. Of course, it was just a newspaper profile, so that quickly became a mere blip on the timeline of my life in Greencastle.

Several years later, I visited again, prompted by my doctor nudging me toward hearing aids. Kaufmann felt the doctor could be a little premature (and my doctor had told me there was a major element of personal preference), so his second opinion helped me delay my big purchase. (Note that he encouraged me to put off a major purchase for a while, rather than pushing to make a sale.)

Then came this summer, when I was facing the actual purchase. My husband had wise reservations about All About Hearing. After all, Kaufmann is not an actual audiologist. However, we do believe there is something to be said about 30 years of experience. We kept praying.

A coworker mentioned that his wife got her hearing aids through All About Hearing. He raved about their experiences there. My father, upon hearing about the place, advised, 'Try it! There really are some people out there who aren't trying to gouge people-who really do still enjoy helping people through their services.'

So I called All About Hearing. And I found Kaufmann offered the exact same hearing aid I was trying for over $1,000 less. And he offered a comparable set for $2,400 less. I made an appointment to visit in person.

A few days later, my husband and I sat in the office of All About Hearing. We shared my story. Kaufmann looked at my hearing test results. We discussed options. Sometime during the conversation I mentioned that I have a sister-in-law who is an audiologist, and that she works in the research department of a major hearing aid manufacturer. The conversation continued.

A minute or so later, Kaufmann shifted in his seat. 'As much as I want to sell you hearing aids, I have to ask the question here,' he slowly stated. 'If you have a sister-in-law who works for [a major hearing manufacturer], don't you think she could get you some kind of a deal? Like I said, I'd love to make a sale, but I also want to make sure you find your best option.'

Wow.

As my husband and I left the office minutes later, we agreed that he had clinched our confidence at that point.

A couple weeks later, three days ago, I made my purchase-at All About Hearing.

Not only is the price better, but I trust Kaufmann. And it is lovely to be able to walk several blocks to check in for cleanings, adjustment, etc., rather than driving 30 minutes each way.

All About Hearing, in my opinion, is small-town business at its best (or close to it, anyway).