When I decided I wanted a new pair of hearing aids this year I surprised my audiologist by knowing a bit about the various brands and features I had to choose from. In making my decision I had researched online before going for my hearing exam. I wanted to know that not only would the aids help amplify my hearing but that they would have useful and neat features for me, like Bluetooth.
For many people it can also be scary. Someone may not even know they have a hearing loss until the audiologist tells them so. They may have never considered that they would ever need to know about various types of hearing aids, and they may not have a basic understanding of the underlying technology. In many cases I hope that audiologists would take it slow and educate the person, but even with consideration given to them people can feel rushed and hurried and very unsure.
Deafness and Hearing Aids has an article about buying hearing aids. I agree with many of their points. Generally people shopping for large appliances like televisions or dryers, will do research on them, but I don't know how many people look into hearing aids. Even though my audiologist recommended the aids I liked already, I did have to ask about the Streamer accessory and getting them in different colors. Knowledge is power.
The link has a lot of interesting ideas for how hearing aids could be sold. As a medical device it would be difficult to showcase them like televisions (though my audiologist's office does have a neat display of different models). The idea of looking at the software for each aid - a nice indicator of what's controllable and what settings you have options for. And being able to "shop" for aids puts people in more control, and feeling more comfortable about their loss.