Can I Use Someone Else’s Hearing Aid?

One question that many people have, but are afraid to ask their hearing professional, is if it is possible to use someone else’s hearing aid. Perhaps your friend, neighbor or spouse has a hearing aid they are no longer using, or maybe you found a used one that looks good on eBay and figure it would save a lot of money. The short answer is “it depends….”

The type of hearing aid makes a big difference. Many of the modern hearing aids do not necessarily have to be molded to fit your particular ear (for example, in the case of the Open-Ear, Behind-the-Ear and Receiver-in-the-Ear types), so it is a lot easier for these types to be worn by a different person than the one for whom it was intended. Hearing aids that are the In-the-Ear or In-the-Canal type, however, are molded to a certain person’s ear, and though you can try to jam them into your own, everyone’s ear is shaped slightly differently so after a while it would end up being very uncomfortable.

The hearing aid’s prescription also makes a difference. If you have ever worn someone else’s eyeglasses, you can understand that another person’s prescription is more than likely not the same for you, and in fact, wearing an improperly prescribed hearing aid can lead to even greater damage to your hearing.

If the hearing aid is digital, you may be in luck, as it can probably be reprogrammed to fit your particular prescription. In this case, you generally would only be required to pay for the consultation with your hearing professional (who will evaluate your hearing and provide a prescription), a dispensing fee (for adjusting the programming of the hearing aid so that it is right for you) and perhaps the creation of a new earmold (in the case of a Behind-the-Ear hearing aid, for example, in which the earmold must be specific to the wearer).

Also keep in mind that some eshearing aids are digned for specific types of hearing loss. For instance, if your hearing loss is relatively mild, you could not use a hearing aid designed for someone with profound hearing loss.

If you are thinking of using someone else’s hearing aid, arrange for a consultation with your hearing professional who can let you know if it is possible and what costs may be involved.