Modern advances in technology ensure that your hearing loss can be successfully remedied with the right hearing aid model.
The trouble is finding the right one.
With all of the hearing aid models available in the market, it can feel just a little overwhelming. But by considering four factors—together with help from a competent hearing care professional—you can readily find the best hearing aid model for you.
How All Hearing Aids Work
Before we consider the differences, it will help to keep in mind how all hearing aids have basically the equivalent parts.
Modern digital hearing aids are compact electronic devices that consist of four standard parts:
- The microphone picks up environmental sound and delivers it to the digital processor.
- The digital processor adjusts the sound signal according to the settings programmed by the hearing specialist. The modified sound signal is then sent to the amplifier.
- 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 transmitted to the speaker.
- The speaker supplies the magnified sound to the ear, generating louder, clearer sound.
Every hearing aid also has a battery, control and volume switches, and other features and functionality that we’ll discuss next.
How Hearing Aids Are Different
Even though all hearing aids have the same fundamental parts, there are four variables that make each model different. When picking out a hearing aid model, your hearing specialist will assist you to narrow down your options according to the four variables, which are:
- Style – There are many different styles of hearing aids. The style most suited for you depends on many things such as the extent of your hearing loss, your dexterity, and your listening goals.
- Ease of use – Will a compact hearing aid be too difficult for you to physically manipulate? Would you prefer to use your mobile phone as your hearing aid remote control?
- Functionality – Do you need telecoils so you can use your hearing aids with your phone? How about directional microphones so you can concentrate on speech?
- Price – Most hearing care professionals are exceptionally good at finding a hearing aid that will meet your desires and your finances. The hearing aid your hearing specialist recommends is always based on where they think you will achieve the most significant return for what you are paying. Financing options are also available to you.
Let’s talk about the four variables in more depth.
Hearing Aid Style
Hearing aids are available in a range of styles, and your selection may rely plainly on aesthetic taste.
The following are some of the most common styles:
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids – these have the majority of the hearing aid parts included in a compact plastic case that sits behind the ear; the case is then linked 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 simple to clean.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids – these have all of the hearing aid parts included in a shell that fills in the exterior 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 conspicuous 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 completely in the ear canal, making them nearly undetectable.
When it comes to choosing a style, consider the tradeoffs among size, ease-of-use, battery life, and functionality, and ensure that you go over these items with your hearing specialist.
Hearing Aid Ease-of-Use
A component that is often neglected is ease-of-use. While completely-in-the-canal hearing aids have the virtue of being small, they may also be tough to handle, in which case you may desire the behind-the-ear styles.
You might also want to consider digital hearing aids that can be operated with mobile technology, like a cell phone or digital watch. This makes it effortless to monitor battery life, change the volume, and transition between environmental presets programmed by your hearing specialist.
Hearing Aid Functionality
Functionality is always a concern, and you should consult your hearing specialist regarding any special situations or activities you regularly perform. For example, if you regularly use the phone, you’ll likely want hearing aids outfitted with telecoils or Bluetooth compatibility.
Also ask about directional microphones and background noise reduction that can maximize your capacity to hear speech and participate in conversation.
Hearing Aid Cost and Financing
Finally, after evaluating the above factors, you need to establish the price you’re ready to spend for the benefits you’ll enjoy from improved hearing.
Although it’s a fact that no one can make this decision for you, most of our patients have felt that the ability to clearly hear sound and speech without continually straining is truly worth the price.
In fact, the per month expense of a hearing aid is normally less than the monthly expense of cable television—and hearing aids will have a larger influence on your all-around quality of life than viewing reruns of CSI.
Once you have a notion of what you’re looking for, your hearing specialist can assist you to narrow down the options. Then, you can choose the model that accommodates all of your requirements for style, ease-of-use, functionality, and cost.
After you’ve picked out your ideal model, your hearing specialist will then custom-program the hearing aids to best amplify sound according to your distinct hearing loss, which was measured during the hearing exam (audiogram). And keep in mind, regardless of the model you decide on, it won’t function properly unless programmed by a hearing care professional.
Last, you’ll have the opportunity to try out your new hearing aids during the trial period. It will take some time to become accustomed to them, but after a short while you’ll be astounded at how clearly you can hear sound and speech.
If you’re ready to discover your perfect pair of hearing aids, talk to us today!