November 14, 2017. At our October 31, 2017 monthly Chapter meeting, our guest speaker was Dr. Denis LeBlanc, president of Avenir Hearing, which operates 9 clinics in New Brunswick. Dr. LeBlanc was invited to speak to us about an initiative he began four years ago in giving clients the option to rent their hearing aids, rather than buying them.
He explained that this option is available, through partnerships with other audiology clinics, in every province except Prince Edward Island. Rentals are based on a three year plan, with all costs included (yes, even batteries), and then can be renewed with new hearing aids.
Several benefits to this option were outlined:
- Affordability. As we know, hearing aids are expensive, and this is a way to pro-rate the cost over a three year period.
- It’s an easy way to get into hearing aids. On average, he explained that it takes a person who has been diagnosed with hearing loss up to 7 years to actually purchase a hearing aid. That’s 7 years of missing out on conversations!
- People love the idea of updating technology every three years. With the rapid changes in technology, hearing aid companies update their circuitry about every 18 months. If you have an older hearing aid, you may be missing out on some advances that will help improve your ability to hear.
- People have complete peace of mind as they know what their monthly cost will be. There are no extra charges.
We asked him how popular the program was in New Brunswick, and were astounded to learn that 75% of private paying patients take this option. Those with private health insurance can also access the plan, with Dr. LeBlanc mentioning agreements with Johnson, Blue Cross, and Sun Life, in response to specific questions with those insurers.
There are three categories of hearing aid rentals, with three different monthly price points, based on what the client’s needs are:
Basic – for one-on-one conversations, TV and telephone use, and light ambient noise such as quiet household activities. So, if you live in a quiet environment and don’t get out into the public much, this may be the option for you.
Standard – for those who go out to restaurants and social events, want to understand passengers while driving in a car, and moderate ambient noise such as attending meetings at work. So, if you are more social or work, this option may be more suitable.
Select – for those who are out in crowds and public places, listening to music, and loud ambient noise.
Dr. LeBlanc was then asked what happens to the hearing aids after the three years are up. We were pleased to learn that they are not thrown out, but refurbished and donated to a charitable organization, to help people with hearing loss in developing countries.
When asked the closest location to Prince Edward Island, for anyone wishing to go to New Brunswick for their hearing aids, he noted that while Shediac was the closest location, there were two additional offices in the vicinity, one in Dieppe, and one in Moncton.
For more information on the hearing aid rental program, see: http://www.hearingaidrental.ca/
For more information on Avenir Hearing, see: http://www.avenirhearing.ca/
Next meeting: Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, starting at 9:30 am, at the North Tryon Presbyterian Church.
Do you have a tip or story to share about hearing loss, or living with someone who is hard of hearing? Do you rent your hearing aids? Would you consider this option? Let us know! Comments can be made on this blog, or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Daria Valkenburg