How to Pick the Right Hearing Aid Model

Today’s innovations in technology assure that your hearing loss can be efficiently remedied with the appropriate hearing aid model.

The problem is choosing the right one.

With all of the hearing aid models that are available, it can feel quite overwhelming. But by looking into four factors—together with help from a competent hearing care professional—you can readily discover the ideal hearing aid model for you.

HOW ALL HEARING AIDS WORK

Before we discuss the differences, it helps to keep in mind how all hearing aids have fundamentally the equivalent parts.

Contemporary digital hearing aids are compact electronic gadgets that consist of four basic parts:

  1. The microphone picks up environmental sound and sends it to the digital processor.
  2. The digital processor modifies the sound signal according to the settings programmed by the hearing specialist. The customized sound signal is then directed to the amplifier.
  3. The amplifier raises the volume of the sound based on the programmed settings, amplifying only the frequencies the patient has problems hearing. This signal is then delivered to the speaker.
  4. The speaker delivers the enhanced sound to the ear, generating louder, clearer sound.

Every hearing aid also has a battery, control and volume switches, and other features and functions that we’ll talk about next.

HOW HEARING AIDS ARE DIFFERENT

While all hearing aids have the same basic parts, there are four variables that render each model different. When choosing a hearing aid model, your hearing specialist will help you to narrow down your options based on the four variables, which are:

  1. Style – There are several different styles of hearing aids. The style most suitable for you is dependent on many things such as the severity of your hearing loss, your dexterity, and your listening goals.
  2. Ease of use – Will a smaller hearing aid be too challenging for you to physically manipulate? Would you prefer to use your cell phone as your hearing aid remote control?
  3. Functionality – Do you need telecoils so you can use your hearing aids with your cell phone? How about directional microphones so you can focus on speech?
  4. Price – Most hearing care professionals are exceptionally good at finding a hearing aid that will satisfy your demands and your finances. The hearing aid your hearing specialist suggests is always based upon where they think you will get the largest return for what you are spending. Financing options are also available.

Let’s look at the four variables in more detail.

Hearing Aid Style

Hearing aids come in a range of styles, and your final choice might hinge plainly on aesthetic taste.

The following are a few of the most popular styles:

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids – these have the majority of the hearing aid parts covered in a compact plastic case that sits behind the ear; the case is then hooked up to an earmold or an earpiece by a piece of clear tubing. Mini-BTE aids can also be found that are smaller. These hearing aids are easy to manipulate and easy to maintain.

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids – these have all of the hearing aid parts contained in a shell that fills in the outer portion of the ear. The ITE aids are more compact than the behind-the-ear aids but larger than the in-the-canal aids. These hearing aids are easier to manipulate than the more compact in-the-canal aids and less noticeable than the behind-the-ear aids.

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids and completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids – these hearing aids are contained in very small cases that fit partially or totally in the ear canal, making them virtually imperceptible.

When it comes to choosing a style, consider the tradeoffs among size, ease-of-use, battery life, and performance, and ensure that you discuss these items with your hearing specialist.

Hearing Aid Ease-of-Use

An element that is often ignored is ease-of-use. While completely-in-the-canal hearing aids have the benefits of being small, they may also be difficult to handle, in which case you may favor the behind-the-ear styles.

You might also wish to consider digital hearing aids that can be operated with mobile technology, such as a cell phone or digital watch. This makes it easy to monitor battery life, adjust the volume, and transition between environmental presets programmed by your hearing specialist.

Hearing Aid Functionality

Performance is consistently a concern, and you need to talk with your hearing specialist about any special situations or activities you regularly perform. For example, if you frequently use the phone, you’ll likely want hearing aids outfitted with telecoils or Bluetooth compatibility.

Also inquire about directional microphones and background noise reduction that can heighten your ability to hear speech and engage in conversation.

Hearing Aid Cost and Financing

Lastly, after evaluating the above factors, you should establish the price you’re prepared to investfor the benefits you’ll achieve from improved hearing.

While it’s a fact that no one can make this decision for you, virtually all of our patients have felt that the ability to distinctly hear sound and speech without constantly straining is worthy of the price.

The fact is, the monthly expense of a hearing aid is quite often less than the monthly cost of cable television—and hearing aids will have a more substantial impact on your all-around quality of life than watching reruns of Law and Order.

FINAL THOUGHTS

After you have a picture of what you’re looking for, your hearing specialist can help you to reduce the options. Then, you can select the model that matches all of your requirements for style, ease-of-use, functionality, and cost.

After you’ve selected your optimal model, your hearing specialist will then custom-program the hearing aids to best amplify sound according to your distinct hearing loss, which was calculated during the hearing test (audiogram). And remember, irrespective of what model you go with, it won’t work correctly unless programmed by a hearing specialist.

Lastly, you’ll get to try out your new hearing aids during the trial period. It will take some time to get used to them, but after a short while you’ll be amazed at how clearly you can hear sound and speech.

If you’re ready to find your perfect pair of hearing aids, talk to us today!

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