Hearing aid manufacturers have to cover the cost of their research and development, licensing in multiple countries (with various medical authorities), shipping, exchange rates, and custom regulations of a country, which all have an impact on the prices for these devices. In addition, a reputable manufacturer will have an accessible laboratory (with staff and equipment) available to manufacture custom-made elements, honour your warranties, provide you with follow-up service, and perform technical repairs that cannot be performed at an audiologist’s practice. Importantly, a hearing aid requires accurate fitting by a skilled, qualified practitioner, and so the cost of your device includes some of the clinical services required.
The Health Professions Council of South Africa advises against the illegal sale and purchase of internet hearing aids or hearing aids purchased from unregistered practitioners in this country. Unregistered devices and people create risks for the patient due to their lack of clinical knowledge and lack of product support. It may seem cheaper, but a hearing loss can be a symptom of a hearing health problem that requires proper diagnosis by a registered medical professional. The potential for a missed or incorrect diagnosis, and under-amplification (which will not help) or over-amplification (which can cause more hearing loss) are not worth the risk of bypassing a proper medical professional and a registered medical product.