Modern breakthroughs in technology ensure that your hearing loss can be successfully remedied with the appropriate hearing aid model.
The difficulty is finding the right one.
With all of the hearing aid models on the market today, it can be just a little overwhelming. But by looking into four factors—together with assistance from a highly skilled hearing care professional—you can easily find the best hearing aid model for you.
How All Hearing Aids Work
Before we examine the differences, it will help to keep in mind how all hearing aids have fundamentally the same parts.
Contemporary digital hearing aids are small electronic devices that consist of four standard parts:
- The microphone picks up environmental sound and transfers it to the digital processor.
- The digital processor adjusts the sound signal based on the settings programmed by the hearing specialist. The altered sound signal is then conveyed to the amplifier.
- The amplifier enhances the volume of the sound based on the programmed settings, amplifying only the frequencies the patient has trouble hearing. This signal is then sent to the speaker.
- The speaker supplies the enhanced sound to the ear, leading to louder, clearer sound.
Every hearing aid also has a battery, control and volume buttons, and other features and functions that we’ll discuss next.
How Hearing Aids Are Different
Even though all hearing aids have the same basic parts, there are four variables that render each model different. When selecting a hearing aid model, your hearing specialist will help you to narrow down your choices according to the four variables, which are:
- Style – There are many different styles of hearing aids. The style most suited for you is dependent on several things such as the severity of your hearing loss, your dexterity, and your listening goals.
- Ease of use – Will a smaller hearing aid be too hard for you to physically manipulate? Would you like 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 uncovering a hearing aid that will meet your goals and your budget. The hearing aid your hearing specialist recommends is always based upon where they think you will get the largest return for what you are spending. Financing options are also available to you.
Let’s consider the four variables in more depth.
Hearing Aid Style
Hearing aids are available in a range of styles, and your final choice might hinge plainly on aesthetic taste.
The following are some of the most popular styles:
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids – these have most of the hearing aid elements 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 are also available that are scaled-down. These hearing aids are easy to handle and easy to maintain.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids – these have all of the hearing aid parts included in a shell that fills in the outer part 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 handle 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 tiny cases that fit partially or entirely in the ear canal, making them virtually imperceptible.
In regards to deciding on a style, keep in mind the tradeoffs among size, ease-of-use, battery life, and performance, and make sure you discuss these items with your hearing specialist.
Hearing Aid Ease-of-Use
A factor that is frequently ignored is ease-of-use. While completely-in-the-canal hearing aids have the benefits of being small, they may also be challenging to handle, in which case you may favor the behind-the-ear styles.
You might also wish to look into digital hearing aids that can be controlled with mobile technology, such as a cell phone or digital watch. This makes it easy to monitor battery life, adjust the volume, and switch among environmental presets programmed by your hearing specialist.
Hearing Aid Functionality
Performance is normally a concern, and you need to work with your hearing specialist regarding any special circumstances or activities you frequently perform. As an example, if you frequently use the phone, you’ll most likely want hearing aids equipped with telecoils or Bluetooth compatibility.
Also inquire about directional microphones and background noise reduction that can maximize your ability to hear speech and participate in conversation.
Hearing Aid Cost and Financing
Finally, after evaluating the above factors, you need to set the price you’re prepared to spend for the benefits you’ll achieve from improved hearing.
While it’s a fact that no one can make this judgment for you, the majority of our patients have felt that the ability to clearly hear sound and speech without continually straining is definitely worth the price.
In fact, the monthly expense of a hearing aid is often less than the per month expense of cable television—and hearing aids will have a more substantial influence on your all-around quality of life than viewing reruns of CSI.
Once you have a picture of what you’re interested in, your hearing specialist can help you narrow the options. Then, you can select the model that matches all of your requirements for style, ease-of-use, functionality, and price.
Once you’ve picked out your optimal model, your hearing specialist will then custom-program the hearing aids to best amplify sound in accordance to your individual hearing loss, which was measured during the hearing test (audiogram). And keep in mind that, regardless of the model you pick out, it won’t work properly unless programmed by a hearing care professional.
Last, you’ll have the opportunity to test your new hearing aids during the trial period. It will take a little 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 ideal pair of hearing aids, talk to us today!