At times, we may seem inundated with the number of available choices available to us in the hearing aid market. You may ask yourself, “Which hearing aid is best for me?” In this article, learn what to consider when choosing a hearing aid.
As someone with possible hearing loss or having a history of wearing hearing aids, you may have mulled over the decision to buy new or buy again more than once. But, we humans tend to be fickle and possibly presumptuous about placing a plastic device inside our ears for an extended time. We may worry about how the hearing aid will look once fitted or if it will really help with our hearing loss. But understanding our anxiety can help when we go to research what to look for when purchasing a hearing aid — and this may relieve some of our concerns.
For the most part, hearing aids come with fundamental parts that transfer sound from the environment around you into your ear. The contention may come when we start to decide or research the number of different hearing aid styles available to us, which can vary in size, shape, and the way that they are fitted onto or into your ear. Some hearing aids are small enough to go inside the ear canal, which allows them to be barely visible — or what popular terminology refers to as invisible hearing aids. Other hearing aids only partially go inside the ear canal; thus, these are more noticeable to the eye. On average, the smaller the hearing aid, the less power it may output given its engineering for a smaller form over total power output. A smaller hearing aid might also have shorter battery life and because of its precedence on being small, it may cost us more.
Completely-in-the-canal hearing aids are molded to be fit inside the ear canal and generally improve mild to moderate hearing loss in adults.
Completely-in-the-canal hearing aids offer the following characteristics:
In-the-canal hearing aids generally are custom molded and are fitted partially in the ear canal, but may not go as deep as the completely-in-canal hearing aid. This hearing aid is also sufficient for mild to moderate hearing loss in adults.
In-the-canal hearing aids offer the following characteristics:
Half-shell hearing aids are usually smaller versions of the in-the-canal hearing aid. They are custom molded and generally fit into the lower portion of the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear. These are appropriate for mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
Half-shell hearing aids offer the following characteristics:
In-the-ear or full-shell hearing aids are also custom made and fill up most of the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear. This style is appropriate for mild to severe hearing loss.
In-the-ear or full-shell hearing aids offer the following characteristics:
Behind-the-ear hearing aids are able to “hook” over the top part of your ear and rest behind the ear. This hearing aid picks up sound, amplifies it, and transfers that sound to an ear mold that goes inside your ear canal. This hearing aid type is appropriate for almost any type of hearing loss — and it is consider for most ages as well.
Behind-the-ear hearing aids offer the following benefits:
Open fit hearing aids are primarily very small behind-the-ear style hearing devices. Larger behind-the-ear hearing devices can also be augmented to a more open-fit style. Sound is transmitted through a small tube or wire to a dome or speaker in the ear canal. These hearing aids leave the ear canal open, so they are better and more suited for mild to moderate high-frequency hearing losses whereas low-frequency hearing is still normal or near normal.
Open fit hearing aids offer the following characteristics:
The electronics in hearing aids determine how sound is transferred from the environment around you to your inner ear. Hearing aids work by amplifying these sounds, thus increasing their amplitude or volume, so that someone with mild, moderate, or even severe hearing loss is able to hear better. Today, hearing aid manufacturers singularly produce digital hearing aids because of their feature-rich improvements.
Digital hearing aid technology uses a tiny computer processor to convert the sound around you into digital bits; the digital hearing aid then analyzes the data it receives and adjust the amplification and sound accordingly — on the fly. It also could adjust based on your hearing loss and listening needs of your environment depending of if it is a noisy or quiet environment. The digital signals are converted into sound waves and sent into the ear. The result? A sound that is tuned to the environment around you. Digital hearing aids are available in all styles and price ranges.
When looking for a hearing aid, explore your options and see what is out there for you. As you research more, you will get a better idea of what type of hearing aid you may required or want.
Here are some more topics to consider for choosing the right hearing aid for you:
Becoming accustom to new hearing aids takes time and patience. One analogy could be a brand-new mattress set and becoming familiar and relaxed with the new set and sleeping in it. Just like that new mattress set, new hearing aids require a time for adjustment to the new look and feel. You may experience sounds you never heard as clear or loud before. Even your voice may sound more accurate but also different than before.
Keep these points in mind:
Though wearing a hearing aid may take time and patience for you to adjust to the changes, once you adjust to your new hearing environment, you will likely enjoy the fidelity and clarity of new sounds and experiences uniquely delivered by your hearing aids. By wearing your hearing aid and taking care of it on a regular schedule, you may notice long-term improvements towards the quality of your hearing and life.