How to Choose a Hearing Aid
Choosing a new hearing aid can be daunting. With such a dizzying range of different options on the market, how can you find the right hearing device? Everyone’s hearing loss is different, so you need to find a solution that suits you.
Whether you’re a first-time user or you’re looking to upgrade, here are some tips to help you select the best hearing aid.
What kind of hearing loss do you have?
The first step is to take a hearing test and find out what level and kind of hearing loss you have, and if it affects one or both ears. Your hearing care specialist will explain what type of hearing device will suit your hearing loss. You can try on different models and styles to see what works best for you.
What style do you want?
Hearing aids are usually worn in or behind the ear, and are available in different sizes and styles. Your kind of hearing loss will determine what kinds of aid you can use – after that, the choice is up to you!
• Behind-the-Ear (BTE) aids are visible and sit behind the ear. They send sound through a small ear-mold into the ear.
• In-the-Ear (ITE) aids sits inside your ear, and are slightly visible from outside.
• In-the-Canal (ITC) is a discreet aid that fits completely into your ear canal.
• Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC) fits even further into your ear than ITC, meaning it’s almost invisible from outside.
With most hearing aids, you can also choose from a range of colors to match your skin-tone, hair color or personality.
Think about your lifestyle
What kind of life do you lead? Your job, family life, hobbies and daily life should influence what kind of hearing aid you choose. For example:
• If you’re a teacher surrounded by noisy children all day, you need a hearing aid that copes well with complex and busy sound environments.
• If you need to stay in touch with the office wherever you are, a hearing aid that syncs with your smartphone would be a good option.
• If you’re a swimmer or work in nautical occupations, choose a water resistant hearing aid (IP67 or IP68 certified).
• If you regularly attend lectures or religious ceremonies inside large cavernous rooms, look for a hearing aid with good echo protection.
Your hearing care specialist will be happy to talk through your lifestyle needs, and help you find a solution that suits you.
What’s your budget?
Hearing aids are a long-term investment that will have a big impact on your quality of life. Some private health care plans may cover partial or full costs of a hearing aid. Check with your insurance company to find out more. You should also check if hearing devices are covered by your state’s Affordable Care Act.
Hearing aid manufacturers make devices at different performance levels and price points. Consider what features are most useful for you – and which ones you don’t need. Some entry-level hearing aids from top manufacturers come with a selection of premium features. Do your research to find the best deal.
Remember that replacement batteries, maintenance and service costs can also add up. It may be wise to opt for a hearing aid with rechargeable batteries. Looking after your hearing aids well and cleaning them daily will go a long way to preserving their lifespan.
Hearing aids don’t last forever, and on average need to be replaced every 4 to 6 years. You may also need to get a new hearing aid if your hearing or lifestyle changes. People also often upgrade if new technologies or more suitable hearing aids become available.
Hearing aids can make such a positive difference in your daily life, so it pays to invest wisely. Your hearing care specialist will be happy to discuss your options, and help you find a solution that’s right for you.
If you need help choosing a hearing aid, we’re happy to help! Contact us at Preferred Hearing Centers today.