Modern innovations in technology assure that your hearing loss can be effectively remedied with the appropriate hearing aid model.
The trouble is choosing the right one.
With all of the hearing aid models on the market today, it can be quite overwhelming. But by taking into account four factors—along with help from a highly skilled hearing care professional—you can easily find the perfect 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 in essence the equivalent parts.
Today’s digital hearing aids are small electronic gadgets 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 based on the settings programmed by the hearing specialist. The altered sound signal is then delivered to the amplifier.
- The amplifier boosts the volume of the sound based on the programmed settings, amplifying only the frequencies the patient has issues hearing. This signal is then transmitted to the speaker.
- The speaker delivers the enhanced sound to the ear, leading to louder, clearer sound.
Every hearing aid also has a battery, control and volume buttons, and additional features and functions that we’ll talk about next.
How Hearing Aids Are Different
Even though all hearing aids have the same basic parts, there are four variables that make each model different. When picking out a hearing aid model, your hearing specialist will help you to narrow down your choices based on the four variables, which are:
- Style – There are many different styles of hearing aids. The style most appropriate for you is dependent on many things such as the degree of your hearing loss, your dexterity, and your listening goals.
- Ease of use – Will a smaller hearing aid be too challenging for you to physically handle? Would you like 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 cell phone? How about directional microphones so you can focus on speech?
- Price – Most hearing care professionals are especially good at finding a hearing aid that will satisfy your requirements and your finances. The hearing aid your hearing specialist suggests is always based on where they think you will achieve the largest return for what you are spending. Financing options are also available to you.
Let’s check out the four variables in more depth.
Hearing Aid Style
Hearing aids are available in a variety of styles, and your choice might hinge simply on aesthetic taste.
The following are a few of the most common styles:
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids – these have the majority of the hearing aid parts included in a small plastic case that sits behind the ear; the case is then attached to an earmold or an earpiece by a piece of clear tubing. Mini-BTE aids are also available that are smaller. These hearing aids are easy to manipulate 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 external 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 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 very small cases that fit partially or totally in the ear canal, making them nearly invisible.
In regards to deciding on a style, consider the tradeoffs among size, ease-of-use, battery life, and performance, and ensure that you discuss these items with your hearing specialist.
Hearing Aid Ease-of-Use
A consideration that is frequently ignored is ease-of-use. While completely-in-the-canal hearing aids have the appeal of being small, they may also be tough to handle, in which case you may desire the behind-the-ear styles.
You may also wish to consider digital hearing aids that can be controlled with mobile technology, like a cell phone or digital watch. This makes it simple to monitor battery life, change the volume, and transition between environmental presets programmed by your hearing specialist.
Hearing Aid Functionality
Functionality is invariably a concern, and you should communicate with your hearing specialist regarding any special situations or activities you regularly perform. For instance, if you regularly use the phone, you’ll probably 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 engage in conversation.
Hearing Aid Cost and Financing
Last, after thinking about the above factors, you should set the price you’re willing to invest for the benefits you’ll achieve from better hearing.
Although it’s a fact that no one can make this determination for you, virtually all of our patients have felt that the ability to clearly hear sound and speech without constantly straining is definitely worth the price.
The fact is, the per month cost of a hearing aid is commonly less than the monthly expense of cable television—and hearing aids will have a more substantial influence on your total quality of life than watching reruns of Law and Order.
After you have a picture of what you’re looking for, your hearing specialist can help you to limit the options. Then, you can select the model that fulfills all of your needs for style, ease-of-use, functionality, and price.
After you’ve picked your perfect model, your hearing specialist will then custom-program the hearing aids to best amplify sound according to your distinct hearing loss, which was calculated during the hearing test (audiogram). And keep in mind, regardless of the model you decide on, it won’t function correctly unless programmed by a hearing care professional.
Last, you’ll get 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 amazed at how clearly you can hear sound and speech.
If you’re ready to discover your ideal pair of hearing aids, talk to us today!