Hearing Aids: How to Choose The Right One
Hearing loss remains a common issue today. In fact, 37.5 million American adults today report some hearing loss.
23:28 18 April 2023
Hearing loss remains a common issue today. In fact, 37.5 million American adults today report some hearing loss. Age serves as the strongest predictor of hearing loss, and non-Hispanic whites report this issue more than other ethnic groups. Help is available for these individuals in the form of hearing aids.
A person might be hesitant to purchase a hearing aid, as they worry it won't help them or will be extremely noticeable. Fortunately, there are several styles to choose from today. However, a hearing aid can't restore natural hearing. It improves hearing by amplifying those sounds a person has difficulty with. To ensure the right model is selected, consider all factors when making a purchase.
Types of Hearing Aids
People often consider the price of good hearing aids to be the main factor when purchasing these devices. However, they need devices they will wear regularly. With many styles to choose from, finding the right device shouldn't be a challenge.
Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids
Often referred to as BTE aids, these devices rest behind the ears. A clear tube connects to the earmold, and all components sit behind the ear in a compartment. Users find these devices easy to clean, and they can handle them without difficulty. The United States Food and Drug Administration recommends this style for children, as the devices are durable and the earmold is replaceable as the child grows.
Open-fit hearing aids fall into this category. Individuals with significant earwax benefit greatly from this style. A narrow tube enters the canal while allowing the canal to remain open.
Completely-in-the-Canal Hearing Aids
Individuals with mild-to-moderate hearing loss often choose a completely-in-the-canal hearing aid that is molded to fit the ear canal. This style is the smallest and cannot easily be seen by others. Wind noise is less of a concern with a CIC hearing aid because it sits in the ear canal.
However, the batteries for this style are very small. They need to be replaced frequently and can be hard to handle. In addition, these styles often lack additional features, such as a directional microphone. Men and women who have a lot of earwax should consider other types, as the earwax may clog the speaker.
In-the-Ear Hearing Aids
Individuals who find CIC hearing aids hard to handle should consider in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids. These hearing aids are slightly bigger and may come with a telecoil. The telecoil allows the wearer to receive sound through the hearing aid itself rather than a microphone. This feature is beneficial when talking on the telephone. Men and women with mild to severe hearing loss should consider this style.
Receiver-in-Canal Hearing Aids
Similar in many ways to the behind-the-ear hearing aid, receiver-in-canal or receiver-in-the-ear hearing aids come with a speaker that rests in the ear canal. The piece behind the ear connects with the speaker through a tiny wire. No tubing is used.
This style is less visible than behind-the-ear hearing aids, which many people appreciate. The user can control the device manually, and the hearing aid comes with a directional microphone. Certain styles come with rechargeable batteries, but the speaker may become clogged with earwax. Keep this in mind when trying different styles.
Choosing a Hearing Aid
Work with a hearing specialist when purchasing a hearing aid. This specialist customizes the device to meet the needs of the user. The specialist ensures the device is comfortable when worn and monitors the acoustic fit to ensure the wearer sees the desired benefits.
Size remains a consideration when choosing a hearing aid. Fortunately, many devices today are barely noticeable when worn. In addition, current models often come with rechargeable batteries, so a person won't need to worry about changing tiny batteries. Although rechargeable models cost more at the time of purchase, the user saves money over their lifespan as they won't need to purchase batteries constantly.
Open-fit hearing aids continue to increase in popularity. They are practically invisible when worn, and the specialist doesn't need to make a mold of the ear canal. As a result, the person can try the hearing aid at their first appointment rather than wait for a custom model. The sound is better with these models because they don't block the ear canal.
Consider a model that offers Bluetooth capabilities. With this technology, a person can stream music or phone calls to the hearing aid. The one drawback is Bluetooth uses significant energy, so the hearing aid will need to be recharged frequently.
Telecoil technology is beneficial to those who frequently visit places with public sound systems. This technology allows for better listening comprehension while increasing the listening range. Background noise becomes less of an issue. Many people find they prefer devices with hearing loops, as loops allow for the most clarity.
Some hearing aids come with remote microphones to optimize sound. The microphone can be pointed in the direction of the speaker. People find the microphone to be helpful in noisy settings.
Basic technology is enough to allow a person to hear clearly. There is no need to purchase the latest model when a basic hearing aid will do. Remember this when purchasing, as hearing remains essential to good health. A low-cost hearing aid with basic technology is better than no hearing aid.
Try different hearing aid types to find one that is comfortable. Wear each hearing aid for a few days to adjust to better hearing. If the hearing aid still isn't comfortable after a week or two, try a different model. With many options offered today, every person should be able to find a device they love that allows them to hear clearly once again.
In fact, state laws have been put into place that allow individuals to try hearing aids for 30 days or more. If the user isn't satisfied, they can request a refund. The only thing they must pay is a small fee for the provider's time. With this protection in place, every person suffering from hearing loss should begin researching devices today.