Today’s breakthroughs in technology assure that your hearing loss can be efficiently remedied with the appropriate hearing aid model.
The challenge is choosing the right one.
With all of the hearing aid models to choose from, it can feel quite overwhelming. But by looking into four factors—along with assistance from a seasoned hearing care professional—you can easily discover the ideal hearing aid model for you.
How All Hearing Aids Work
Before we examine the differences, it helps to keep in mind how all hearing aids have fundamentally the same parts.
Modern digital hearing aids are small electronic devices that consist of four standard parts:
- The microphone picks up environmental sound and delivers it to the digital processor.
- The digital processor modifies the sound signal according to the settings programmed by the hearing specialist. The customized sound signal is then delivered to the amplifier.
- The amplifier heightens the volume of the sound based on the programmed settings, amplifying only the frequencies the patient has issues hearing. This signal is then transferred to the speaker.
- The speaker supplies the magnified sound to the ear, leading to louder, clearer sound.
Each hearing aid also has a battery, control and volume switches, and additional features and functionality that we’ll talk about next.
How Hearing Aids Are Different
Although all hearing aids have the same fundamental parts, there are four variables that render each model different. When deciding on a hearing aid model, your hearing specialist will help you narrow down your options according to the four variables, which are:
- Style – There are many different styles of hearing aids. The style best suited for you depends on many things such as the degree of your hearing loss, your manual dexterity, and your listening objectives.
- Ease of use – Will a compact hearing aid be too hard for you to physically handle? Would you prefer to use your cell 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 focus on speech?
- Price – Most hearing care professionals are exceptionally good at uncovering a hearing aid that will satisfy your demands and your budget. The hearing aid your hearing specialist recommends is always based upon where they think you will attain the largest return for what you are spending. Financing options are also available.
Let’s look into the four variables in more detail.
Hearing Aid Style
Hearing aids are available in a variety of styles, and your selection may hinge plainly on aesthetic preference.
Here are a few of the most popular styles:
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids – these have the majority of the hearing aid elements covered in a compact plastic case that rests behind the ear; the case is then attached to an earmold or an earpiece by a piece of clear tubing. Mini-BTE aids can also be found 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 contained in a shell that fills in the external portion of the ear. The ITE aids are more compact than the behind-the-ear aids but bigger than the in-the-canal aids. These hearing aids are easier to manipulate than the more compact in-the-canal aids and less visible 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 completely in the ear canal, making them practically unnoticeable.
In regards to deciding on a style, consider the tradeoffs among size, ease-of-use, battery life, and performance, and make sure you talk about these items with your hearing specialist.
Hearing Aid Ease-of-Use
A factor that is frequently neglected is ease-of-use. While completely-in-the-canal hearing aids have the appeal of being small, they may also be tricky to handle, in which case you may favor the behind-the-ear styles.
You might also want to consider digital hearing aids that can be manipulated with mobile technology, such as a cell phone or digital watch. This makes it effortless to monitor battery life, modify the volume, and transition among environmental presets programmed by your hearing specialist.
Hearing Aid Functionality
Functionality is consistently a concern, and you need to talk with your hearing specialist regarding any special circumstances or activities you regularly perform. For instance, if you regularly use the phone, you’ll most likely want hearing aids equipped with telecoils or Bluetooth compatibility.
Also ask about directional microphones and background noise reduction that can improve your capacity to hear speech and engage in conversation.
Hearing Aid Price and Financing
Last, after considering the above factors, you need to decide the price you’re ready to invest for the benefits you’ll achieve from better hearing.
While it’s a fact that no one can make this decision for you, nearly all of our patients have felt that the ability to clearly hear sound and speech without continuously straining is worthy of the price.
The fact is, the per month 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 general quality of life than watching 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 fulfills all of your requirements for style, ease-of-use, functionality, and cost.
Once you’ve chosen your perfect model, your hearing specialist will then custom-program the hearing aids to best amplify sound in accordance to your individual hearing loss, which was calculated during the hearing test (audiogram). And keep in mind that, regardless of the model you decide on, it won’t function properly unless programmed by a hearing specialist.
Lastly, 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 find your perfect pair of hearing aids, talk to us today!