Today’s advances in technology ensure that your hearing loss can be efficiently treated with the appropriate hearing aid model.
The challenge is choosing the right one.
With all of the hearing aid models on the market, it can be a little overwhelming. But by taking into account four factors—together with assistance from a seasoned hearing care professional—you can easily discover the perfect hearing aid model for you.
How All Hearing Aids Work
Before we examine the differences, it helps to remember how all hearing aids have fundamentally the same components.
Modern-day digital hearing aids are small electronic gadgets that consist of four basic parts:
- The microphone picks up environmental sound and transfers it to the digital processor.
- The digital processor modifies the sound signal according to the settings programmed by the hearing specialist. The revised sound signal is then delivered 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 sent to the speaker.
- The speaker supplies the magnified sound to the ear, generating louder, clearer sound.
Every 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 render each model different. When choosing a hearing aid model, your hearing specialist will assist you to narrow down your choices according to the four variables, which are:
- Style – There are many different styles of hearing aids. The style most suited for you depends on many things such as the degree of your hearing loss, your dexterity, and your listening goals.
- Ease of use – Will a compact hearing aid be too difficult 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 concentrate on speech?
- Price – Most hearing care professionals are especially good at uncovering a hearing aid that will meet your demands and your finances. The hearing aid your hearing specialist suggests is always based upon where they think you will achieve the largest return for what you are paying. Financing options are also available.
Let’s discuss the four variables in more detail.
Hearing Aid Style
Hearing aids are available in a range of styles, and your choice may depend simply on aesthetic taste.
The following are a few of the most popular styles:
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids – these have the majority of the hearing aid elements included in a small plastic case that rests 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 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 more compact 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 enclosed in very small cases that fit partially or completely in the ear canal, making them nearly invisible.
When it comes to picking out a style, keep in mind the tradeoffs among size, ease-of-use, battery life, and functionality, and ensure that you go over these items with your hearing specialist.
Hearing Aid Ease-of-Use
A consideration that is often ignored is ease-of-use. While completely-in-the-canal hearing aids have the benefit of being small, they may also be difficult to handle, in which case you may desire the behind-the-ear styles.
You may also want to look into digital hearing aids that can be operated with mobile technology, like a cell phone or digital watch. This makes it effortless to monitor battery life, modify the volume, and switch among environmental presets programmed by your hearing specialist.
Hearing Aid Functionality
Functionality is frequently a concern, and you need to consult with your hearing specialist about any special circumstances or activities you regularly perform. For example, if you frequently use the phone, you’ll likely want hearing aids outfitted with telecoils or Bluetooth compatibility.
Also ask about directional microphones and background noise suppression that can maximize your capacity to hear speech and participate in conversation.
Hearing Aid Price and Financing
Last, after evaluating the above factors, you need to decide the price you’re prepared to invest for the benefits you’ll attain from better hearing.
Although 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 constantly straining is well worth the price.
In fact, the monthly expense of a hearing aid is often less than the per month expense of cable television—and hearing aids will have a bigger impact on your all-around quality of life than viewing reruns of CSI.
Once you have a picture of what you’re looking for, your hearing specialist can help you narrow the options. Then, you can choose the model that fulfills all of your requirements for style, ease-of-use, functionality, and price.
After you’ve picked out your ideal model, your hearing specialist will then custom-program the hearing aids to best amplify sound in accordance to your unique hearing loss, which was calculated during the hearing test (audiogram). And remember, irrespective of what model you decide on, it won’t function correctly unless programmed by a hearing specialist.
Finally, you’ll have the opportunity to try your new hearing aids during the trial period. It will take a little time to get 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!