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Should I buy hearing aids on eBay?!

Updated: May 23, 2023

The short answer is yes, and no. Continue reading to learn if you can buy hearing aids which are on sale on eBay and how you can reduce the risk of purchasing your hearing aids online.

This week's highlight was that a patient brought in a pair of Phonak Audeo B90 for fitting, what I learned was that he bought them on eBay! He inspired me to share this article with you. Please feel free to use the form at the end of this article to share your questions.

how to buy hearing aids for sale online safely

What types of hearing aids are for sale on eBay?

The range of hearing aids for sale online and in particular on eBay is quite diverse. There you can find new and used hearing aids, from battery-operated to rechargeable. The dominant hearing aids to find on eBay are cheap low-quality devices that are Amplifiers and not hearing aids. Amplifiers do not have the quality built of premium hearing aids, they do not have the sophisticated sound processing as premium hearing aids have and the number of their channels are very limited hence they sound very artificial (not natural). The amplifiers are priced cheap and mostly made in Asia. My advice is to avoid amplifiers at any cost.

The second group of hearing aids listed for sale on eBay are premium brand hearing aids such as Phonak and Oticon but with older technology.

What is the source of hearing aids for sale on eBay?

I could think of a few channels that these premium hearing aids find their way to eBay, including:

  • Inheritance - A big part of premium hearing aids listed on eBay come from people who inherited the hearing aids from their deceased ones.

  • Upgrades - Some people upgrade their hearing aids and notice that the old pair is only collecting dust. It makes sense to sell the old one to pay part of the cost of the new one.

  • Theft - The sale of stolen items is not allowed on eBay but it is not impossible to find a stolen iPhone, laptop or pair of premium hearing aids listed on eBay.

  • Found them - Same as the one above, it is possible that some find a pair of hearing aids on a park bench and instead of looking for the owner just list them on eBay. If you notice that the listed items are missing the box or the charger you should suspect the listing.

  • Some quit - There is a percentage of patients who could benefit from using hearing aids, encouraged by their partner or family to try them but they never continue using hearing aids. If the period of refund policy is passed then a natural option for them is to sell the hearing aids online.

  • Hearing loss changed - Some patients experience a sudden change in their hearing loss e.g. due to acoustic trauma, severe illness or other reasons. In such a case the hearing aids they already have may not be suitable for the elevated hearing loss. Another example is when the patient started having dexterity issues or arthritis and his/her RIC hearing aids are not easy to use and s/he decides to switch to ITE or ITC hearing aids.

  • NHS - Most of the first-time users of hearing aids try free NHS hearing aids for start, then they buy a premium set of hearing aids. Although the NHS hearing aids are the property of the NHS and should be returned back to the provider, some of these patients may sell their NHS hearing aids on eBay.

  • No hearing loss anymore - The patient may not need hearing aids anymore after an ear operation for they sell them online. If your ear operation has been successful and your post-hearing test shows that your natural hearing is restored you may not need your hearing aids anymore. I have to say that this is a rare case.

Why one may choose to buy hearing aids sold on eBay?

Buying hearing aids on eBay is not for everyone, but certain groups of patients may find the motive to do so.

  • Experienced users - People with prior experience with hearing aids may naturally be more comfortable buying a pair of hearing aids online and especially on eBay.

  • Budget - eBay is a place for bargaining, so why not shop for listed hearing aids there?

  • A backup set - You may have paid for a top of the line premium hearing aids but you also need a second pair of hearing aids as a backup.

  • Local AuD - It is vital to have access to a local audiologist who can help you with the service and maintenance and reprogramming of a set of hearing aids that you plan to purchase on eBay (or for that purpose online). It makes sense to even consult with your local AuD prior to buying the hearing aid online.

What should you consider if you want to buy hearing aids on eBay?

Besides our general guidance about buying hearing aids online here is a brief list of the things that you should consider before buying your hearing aids on eBay:

  • Hygiene - Perhaps the single reason why you should not buy a pair of 2nd hand hearing aids is that you have no idea what kind of health issues the previous owner has had. Hearing aids are personal medical devices and contagious diseases can easily transfer from one person to another through the use of hearing aids. If you are keen to buy and use second-hand hearing aids I'd strongly suggest asking your local audiologist to send them to the manufacturer for service and a complete cleanup.

  • Experienced users - Buying second-hand hearing aids for first-time users of hearing aids are not recommended. We suggest consulting with a local audiologist before buying any hearing aids especially if you are a first-time user of hearing aids. Your hearing loss may be pathological or may be a referable case that requires further investigation.

  • Suitability - Consultation with your audiologist could ensure that the hearing aids that you plan to buy online covers the range of your hearing loss. Also, other elements of the hearing aid for example the length of the receiver in RIC models is long enough and fits well on your ears.

  • Local or online support - Make sure that you have access to a local audiologist. Remember that it is very unlikely that the hearing aids purchased on eBay have any warranty left on them hence you'd need support to get your hearing aids running for at least 2-3 years. Also, your local AuD could assist you to get the transfer of the registration and any warranty left on the hearing aids to you by the manufacturer.

  • Age of hearing aids - The life of hearing aid depends on the quality of the build and the way they have been treated. One can expect 5-9 years of service from a pair of premium hearing aids. We do not recommend buying a used hearing aid that is older than 3-5 years as it is likely that they would need repair and service soon if they are older than 5-7 years old. Most of the manufacturers of hearing aid only support their products up to 7 years from the date they published the technology or 7 years from the date of manufacturing the device.

  • Technology level - The price of hearing aids varies based on their technology level. Make sure you consult with an AuD or search online to understand the technology and sound processing level of the hearing aids you plan to purchase on eBay.

  • Backup set - If you are an experienced hearing aid user and are looking for a backup set then buying hearing aids online may be a good idea. Make sure that you stay with the same brand for consistency in sound processing and brain adjustment. Each of the hearing aid manufacturers uses a proprietary sound processing algorithm, so it makes sense to look for the same brand of hearing aid as you have been using.

  • Faulty hearing aids - There is a risk that the hearing aid that you buy on eBay is faulty or has had a history of intermittent problems. Make sure that you share the concern with the seller and leave the option to return them after a period from purchase if they didn't work well. Again having access to a local AuD would help manage unexpected events.

What about buying hearing aids accessories and assistive devices on eBay?

Unlike hearing aids, shopping for domes, wax guards and other hearing aid accessories is relatively safer and more straightforward, well as far as you know what you are looking for. Also, eBay could be a good place to find bargain deals for assistive devices such as remote microphones and TV streamers for your premium hearing aids. Most of the vendors of such products are hearing aid shops.

Make sure you check the reviews of the vendor and do a quick online search for quick due diligence before buying these items online. Also, make sure to seek professional advice from your local AuD to make sure what you plan to purchase works with your hearing aids.

Have an experience buying hearing aids online or on eBay, or have questions about shopping for your hearing aids online, please contact us or leave a comment at the bottom of this article.


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