The New York Times published an informative article about purchasing hearing aids on July 24. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/health/25patient.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&em
Although the retired pastor, who is featured in the article, is somewhat surprised by the cost of his hearing aids, the article delivers sensible advice for people who might be in the market for hearing aids. What's particularly useful about this article are the questions it advises people to ask their hearing healthcare professional before they pursue hearing aids. It even provides a link to a consumer checklist created by the Hearing Loss Association of America. http://www.hearingloss.org/learn/hearingaids.asp
The checklist is a great way to ensure you are receiving high quality care at a good value. When in comes to improved communication, value is largely determined by both the product (hearing aids) you purchase and the professionalism and competence of the service provider, which you personally experience during the office visits.