Today’s breakthroughs in technology assure that your hearing loss can be effectively treated with the appropriate hearing aid model.
The trouble is finding the right one.
With all of the hearing aid models to pick from, it can feel a little overwhelming. But by considering four factors—together with help from a highly trained hearing care professional—you can readily find the ideal hearing aid model for you.
How All Hearing Aids Work
Before we consider the differences, it helps to keep in mind how all hearing aids have in essence the equivalent components.
Modern-day digital hearing aids are small electronic devices that consist of four basic 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 modified sound signal is then conveyed to the amplifier.
- The amplifier raises the volume of the sound based on the programmed settings, amplifying only the frequencies the patient has problems hearing. This signal is then delivered to the speaker.
- The speaker delivers the magnified sound to the ear, bringing about louder, clearer sound.
Every hearing aid also has a battery, control and volume buttons, and other features and functionality that we’ll discuss next.
How Hearing Aids Are Different
Although all hearing aids have the same basic parts, there are four variables that render each model different. When picking out 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 numerous different styles of hearing aids. The style most appropriate for you is dependent on several things such as the degree of your hearing loss, your manual dexterity, and your listening goals.
- Ease of use – Will a smaller hearing aid be too hard 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 utilize your hearing aids with your mobile phone? How about directional microphones so you can focus on conversation?
- Price – Most hearing care professionals are exceptionally good at uncovering a hearing aid that will meet your demands and your budget. The hearing aid your hearing specialist suggests is always based on where they think you will get the biggest return for what you are paying. Financing options are also available to you.
Let’s go over the four variables in more depth.
Hearing Aid Style
Hearing aids are available in a range of styles, and your final choice may rely plainly on cosmetic preference.
Here are a few of the most common 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 hooked up 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 handle and easy to maintain.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids – these have all of the hearing aid parts enclosed in a shell that fills in the external part of the ear. The ITE aids are smaller than the behind-the-ear aids but bigger than the in-the-canal aids. These hearing aids are easier to handle than the smaller 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 enclosed in tiny cases that fit partially or completely in the ear canal, making them practically imperceptible.
In regards to picking out a style, keep in mind 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 component that is frequently overlooked is ease-of-use. While completely-in-the-canal hearing aids have the virtue of being small, they may also be tricky to handle, in which case you may favor the behind-the-ear styles.
You may also wish to look into digital hearing aids that can be controlled with mobile technology, like 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
Performance is always a concern, and you should discuss with your hearing specialist about any unique situations or activities you commonly perform. For example, if you regularly use the phone, you’ll most likely want hearing aids outfitted with telecoils or Bluetooth compatibility.
Also ask about directional microphones and background noise reduction that can enhance your capacity to hear speech and partake in conversation.
Hearing Aid Price and Financing
Finally, after thinking about the above factors, you should establish the price you’re prepared to spend for the benefits you’ll attain from improved hearing.
While it’s a fact that no one can make this determination for you, the majority of our patients have felt that the ability to clearly hear sound and speech without continuously straining is well worth the price.
In fact, the per month expense of a hearing aid is commonly less than the monthly expense of cable television—and hearing aids will have a larger impact on your overall quality of life than viewing reruns of Law and Order.
After you have a picture of what you’re interested in, your hearing specialist can help you to limit the options. Then, you can choose the model that meets all of your needs for style, ease-of-use, functionality, and price.
Once you’ve selected your perfect model, your hearing specialist will then custom-program the hearing aids to best amplify sound according to your unique hearing loss, which was calculated during the hearing test (audiogram). And keep in mind that, irrespective of the model you pick out, it won’t work correctly unless programmed by a hearing specialist.
Finally, you’ll have the opportunity to try out your new hearing aids during the trial period. It will take a little 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 find your optimal pair of hearing aids, talk to us today!