Lively Hearing has been doing a lot of television advertising in Florida and their parent company, Redesign Health, is regrettably pushing Florida legislation that would allow consumers to waive a proper hearing exam before they buy prescription fit hearing aids.
Lively wants to bypass existing rules, mail hearing aids directly to the consumer and provide 3 years of remote audiology care. Their audiologist would come into the home via the internet (Tele-Audiology) and provide support and counseling. This is designed to be convenient for the consumer and efficient for Lively, thereby lowering the cost of hearing aids.
I am all for that idea, especially since my doctors are pioneers in Tele-Audiology and do thousands of remote video hearing aid procedures each year.
Our Initial Order
One of my employees wears hearing aids so we ordered him Lively Hearing aids online. The website has a lot of helpful information. He was directed to take their online hearing test before he placed the order. They asked him a lot of questions about the health of his ears before they collected the $1,850.00 ($925 each) for a pair receiver in the canal (RIC) behind the ear aids. We could have ordered a pair of rechargeable aids for $2400.00.
The Quality of the Aids
Within several days we received the aids with 3 different sized ear tips to accommodate different sized ear canals. Lively had used the online hearing test to program a custom hearing aid prescription.
The Lively aids are an older generation of Resound hearing aids. Resound builds decent hearing aids and even though these are not their new and best technology, they are adequate for the price. Like other makes of aids, they can be adjusted using your smart phone or remotely by their audiologist. One nice feature is that these hearing aids can be adjusted by any Resound hearing aid provider, even if they are not employed by Lively.
The Quality of Service
Our aids were shipped with an incorrect prescription. The imperfections could not be corrected with the phone app adjustments. We could not get an appointment with an audiologist for one month. Our opinion is that the aids were off target because Lively’s online hearing test was grossly inaccurate and incomplete.
The below graph is a comparison of their online hearing test with a proper hearing test performed in a licensed hearing professional’s office. The shaded area shows the large discrepancy.
This graph below is an oscilloscope reading (speech mapping) of how the Lively aid prescriptions performed in the ear. Again, the shaded area shows how far off target the aids were both in pitch (frequency) and volume.
We were not going to wait a month for Lively to fix the problem. We also wondered how long it would take us to see an audiologist once we were past the trial period. The hearing aids were returned because of the above issues.
Customer service was polite and helpful with the order and return.
*Customer service was polite and not pushy
*Good Website with valuable information including how to videos
*Decent value for older generation aids built by a major manufacturer
*Very poor access to the promised audiology services
*The audiologist assigned did not have a license to practice in our state of Florida
*Lively’s online hearing test for custom hearing aid prescription is grossly inaccurate and incomplete
Recommendation to Consumers
Don’t buy Lively hearing aids without first getting a correct hearing test from a local hearing healthcare professional. Medicare and most insurances cover the cost of hearing tests. Send Lively a copy of that test instead of taking their inadequate online test. At time of purchase, request a prompt follow up (within a week) with the audiologist assigned to you. Ask for an audiologist that is licensed in your state so you will have more legal recourse if something goes wrong with your care.
Recommendations to Lively
I applaud your desire to make hearing aids convenient and more affordable with Tele-Audiology. Instead of using your online test, ask your customers to send you a copy of a complete and correct hearing test performed in office by a licensed hearing healthcare professional. Please expand your audiology services in order to provide prompt follow up care. As you know, this will reduce your returns for credit and increase positive online reviews. Please protect your customers by providing the services of an Audiologist that is licensed in the state in which they reside. In review, don’t take short cuts with hearing testing in order to sell more hearing aids. In my opinion your incorrectly fitted hearing aids will discourage consumers with the overall health and social benefit of hearing aids.