Hearing loss is a very common experience across the world. It is something
5 Important Factors to Consider When Selecting Hearing Aids
Once you’ve taken the plunge and pursued treatment for hearing loss, you’re faced with a decision about what kind of hearing aid you want. Being fitted with a comfortable, quality hearing aid is an important part of the treatment, for if you don’t like the sound or feel of your new device, it’s more likely you’ll assign the hearing aid to your sock drawer, giving you no benefit.
Not all hearing aids are created equally. Manufacturers offer different designs with varying features, and not every hearing aid sounds the same. Just as brands and models of home audio equipment have their own sound, so can hearing aids. Finding just the right hearing aid for you and your hearing loss may take some trial and error.
While the answers to the questions about the best hearing aid are something only you can define, understanding some of the choices, features, and other considerations about your options make it easier to zero in on your best choice. Today, we delve into five important factors to consider when you select your new hearing aids.
Your hearing loss
Sometimes, the type and severity of your hearing loss influence your assistive device options. For example, if only one ear is affected, you may be a candidate for a single hearing aid. Those with bilateral (both ears) loss may see an improvement with one aid but will probably benefit from the sound-locating ability enhanced by two hearing aids.
People with major hearing loss may opt for a behind-the-ear (BTE) design that accepts a larger battery, which doesn’t need to be replaced so frequently.
Hearing aid features
These can be related to your hearing loss or your lifestyle. For instance, an audio engineer who often wears headphones may prefer in-the-ear-canal (ITC) or in-the-ear (ITE) styles, options that may not be available to someone who requires powerful amplification to supplement their available hearing.
There are also hybrid designs that blend features of each design, as well as new technologies including Bluetooth, which give you options to use your hearing aids as earbuds for making smartphone calls or listening to music.
Your life may dictate the style and features you prefer for your hearing aids. The social butterfly may find that their priority rests on noise-canceling features that help them function in crowds and noisy situations, while someone with a quieter life may place greater emphasis on natural sound.
As with other factors, the nature of your hearing aid may limit your choices, but the programmability of contemporary hearing aid technology is often extensive, so there’s likely a balance out there that works for you.
Cosmetics and hearing aid size
Some people can be self-conscious about wearing hearing aids. The smaller ITC aids have a near-invisible variation called completely-in-the-canal (CIC), and even ITE aids can go unnoticed without a close look. However, since age-related hearing loss is common, people with dexterity issues due to arthritis or other conditions may be more comfortable with larger aids.
Those not so worried about discretion can even find hearing aids in fluorescent colors, reflecting their flamboyant personalities.
While buying into treatment for hearing loss is usually a value at any price, budget can be a reality for many hearing aid wearers. As with most sophisticated electronics, more features generally mean higher prices. There are no standard feature packages, and prices vary between manufacturers. Keeping costs down may mean you’re limited to certain hearing aid form factors, available features, and the more economical manufacturers.