Choosing the Right Hearing Aid
Today’s hearing aids are available in a wide variety of styles, sizes and shapes. They may be worn in the ear canal, the bowl-shaped portion (concha) of the ear, or behind the ear. Digital technology has led to an impressive assortment of features and options that help improve the listening experience.
All these choices give the consumer plenty of options, but can also feel overwhelming.
There are many different factors to consider when choosing the right hearing aid. You’ll need to consider the type and frequency of your hearing loss, the anatomy of your ears, your lifestyle needs, cosmetic preference and budget.
Tips for Choosing a Hearing Aid
While choosing the right hearing aid can feel daunting, by following a few tips you should be able to narrow down your choices and make a decision more easily. When choosing hearing aids, it will be helpful to adhere to these suggestions:
- Act sooner rather than later. On average, it takes a person seven years to purchase hearing aids after developing hearing loss. In that time, their hearing has only gotten worse. The sooner you commit to wearing hearing aids, the more successful your outcome will be.
- Schedule a hearing exam. You won’t be able to select a proper set of hearing aids if you’re doing so because other people appear to mumble when they speak. A full hearing evaluation is necessary in order to determine the type and severity of your hearing loss and which frequencies are affected. Your audiologist can then recommend hearing aids that address these specific issues.
- Enlist the aid of an audiologist. You might find a good deal on hearing aids online or through a big box retail store, but purchasing without the assistance of an experienced hearing professional can cause more harm than good. An audiologist is able to determine your type of hearing loss and will help you select a device that will be beneficial to your needs. In addition, you’ll receive the follow-up care necessary to ensure your hearing aids are working to the best of their capabilities. “Doing it yourself” could result in your overlooking a serious medical problem that is causing your hearing loss.
- Try before you buy. Before committing to a purchase, your audiologist will let you try out your hearing aids. It’s important to give them a “test ride” to learn how they work and to experience for yourself the difference they make.
- Decide on features, options and accessories. Hearing aids come with many different features and options; some will be beneficial, while others you probably won’t care about. For instance, if you rarely surf the web or listen to music, Bluetooth compatibility – while a great feature – will be of little use to you. On the other hand, if you are exposed to many different listening environments, automatic programming will save you a lot of time and trouble. Figure out what is important to you (and fits within your budget), and base your decision on that.