Modern advances in technology assure that your hearing loss can be efficiently remedied with the right hearing aid model.
The problem is choosing the right one.
With all of the hearing aid models that are available, it can feel a bit overwhelming. But by looking at four factors—along with help from a qualified hearing care professional—you can easily discover the optimal hearing aid model for you.
How All Hearing Aids Work
Before we discuss the differences, it helps to keep in mind how all hearing aids have essentially the equivalent parts.
Modern-day digital hearing aids are small electronic devices that consist of four basic parts:
- The microphone picks up environmental sound and transfers it to the digital processor.
- The digital processor adjusts the sound signal according to the settings programmed by the hearing specialist. The customized 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 issues hearing. This signal is then directed to the speaker.
- The speaker delivers the magnified sound to the ear, resulting in louder, clearer sound.
Each 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
While all hearing aids have the same vital parts, there are four variables that make 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 most suitable for you depends on many things such as the intensity of your hearing loss, your manual dexterity, and your listening goals.
- Ease of use – Will a compact hearing aid be too challenging for you to physically handle? Would you prefer to use your mobile phone as your hearing aid remote control?
- Functionality – Do you need telecoils so you can utilize your hearing aids with your mobile phone? How about directional microphones so you can concentrate on speech?
- Price – Most hearing care professionals are exceptionally good at finding a hearing aid that will meet your desires and your finances. The hearing aid your hearing specialist recommends is always based on where they think you will achieve the most significant return for what you are paying. Financing options are also available.
Let’s discuss the four variables in more depth.
Hearing Aid Style
Hearing aids come in a variety of styles, and your selection might depend plainly on aesthetic taste.
Here are some of the most common styles:
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids – these have most of the hearing aid components contained 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 can also be found that are smaller. These hearing aids are easy to manipulate and simple to clean.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids – these have all of the hearing aid parts secured in a shell that fills in the exterior portion of the ear. The ITE aids are smaller 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 noticeable 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 completely in the ear canal, making them virtually undetectable.
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 go over these items with your hearing specialist.
Hearing Aid Ease-of-Use
An aspect that is often neglected is ease-of-use. While completely-in-the-canal hearing aids have the advantage of being small, they may also be challenging 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 controlled with mobile technology, such as a cell phone or digital watch. This makes it convenient to monitor battery life, modify the volume, and transition among environmental presets programmed by your hearing specialist.
Hearing Aid Functionality
Functionality is regularly a concern, and you need to talk with your hearing specialist about any unique situations or activities you frequently perform. As an example, if you frequently use the phone, you’ll probably want hearing aids outfitted with telecoils or Bluetooth compatibility.
Also inquire about directional microphones and background noise suppression that can maximize your capacity to hear speech and engage in conversation.
Hearing Aid Cost and Financing
Lastly, after evaluating the above factors, you need to determine the price you’re ready to invest for the benefits you’ll enjoy from improved hearing.
While it’s true that no one can make this determination for you, virtually all of our patients have felt that the ability to distinctly hear sound and speech without constantly 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 overall quality of life than watching reruns of Law and Order.
After you have a picture of what you’re interested in, your hearing specialist can assist you to narrow the options. Then, you can select the model that fulfills all of your needs for style, ease-of-use, functionality, and cost.
Once you’ve selected your perfect model, your hearing specialist will then custom-program the hearing aids to best amplify sound according to your individual hearing loss, which was calculated during the hearing exam (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 get used 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 optimal pair of hearing aids, talk to us today!