Lost, stolen, and yes…damaged!
Most new hearing aid purchases come with a replacement coverage called “Lost, Stolen, or Damaged.” Most manufacturers include at least a three-year coverage to replace the aids and usually for a very small deductible payment. When a patient calls to tell me they lost their hearing aid, I usually ask them to continue searching a week before I order a replacement.
Many times the lost aid is found within that week time frame. I have had patients find a lost aids in the bottom of their dog food bag at the end of the month. I have had expert fly fishermen capsize their canoe and lose their aids. I had a patient once who lost their hearing aid in the snow, had it replaced, and found it in the Spring and the aid still worked! One lady lost her new hearing aids in the kitchen when she was baking only to see a lump in the top of her beautiful apple pie.
When it comes to stolen, the only time that ever happened to me was from a display case in Philly. The thieves took plastic models that had no electronics on the inside. I say thieves plural because it happened each week these models were placed on top the display case in soft life like ears until the company changed the display policy. The replacement coverage covers, lost, stolen, and yes damaged. Even if the damage is self-inflicted. I have seen aids that were stepped on, sat on, dropped in the lake, the sink, and yes the toilet. A quick drip in the water or shower won’t kill a hearing aid. They should be opened to air dry. Never use a hair dryer, and never put them in a microwave oven. I had a lady in Virginia that zapped her aids in the microwave, brought them to me, and said I had told her to do it! Even that mistake saw the honoring of the replacement coverage. The manufacturers honor their replacement promises, but the patient should understand an important issue.
If you lose a hearing aid, have it replaced, and then find the original lost aid don’t ever bring that one in for factory repair. I didn’t catch one once and sent it back to the factory. Their computers flagged that aid as having been replaced and took custody of it. Surprisingly the man’s children were furious. I tried to explain the company promised that their dad would have two hearing aids, but not three!
Dogs are the number one reason why hearing aids are destroyed. The hearing aid touches our skin and collects perspiration which contains salt. If left anywhere near where a dog can reach them, they smell and then lick the salt until crunching and then swallowing takes place.
Hearing aids usually come with a three to four-year repair warranty and the replacement coverage I have described. When talking to a hearing professional about a purchase always make sure these two very important ideas are discussed.
Though replacement coverage is comforting actual loss and damage claims are rare.
Jeffrey L. Bayliff is Owner, Hear the Birds Hearing Aid Center, Lock Haven, PA