Choice of hearing aid is a crucial consideration for people with hearing loss. According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, more than 35 million children and adults in the U.S. have hearing loss. Sadly, less than 25 percent of people who need hearing aids will get them. All hearing aids have essentially the same parts: a microphone to pick up sound, an amplifier to make the sound louder, a receiver that delivers the sound to your ear and an on/off switch. However, these devices can differ in size, design and price, among other variances. It is important for people who have hearing loss to choose the kind of hearing aid that will provide them the best quality of life, and you should consider a few crucial things before making the decision on your hearing aid.
Which style suits you best?
The Mayo Clinic lists several different designs of hearing aids. Those include aids that are completely in the canal (CIC), in the ear canal (ITC), in the outer ear (ITE) and behind the ear (BTE). Each type of hearing aid has its own applications and uses. For instance, CIC and ITC hearing aids are helpful in patients with mild to moderate hearing loss, whereas ITE devices cover the full range for adults with mild to severe hearing loss. You should ask an audiologist which would work best for your specific situation, and also make sure to ask about a trial period before making your decision. ASHA says most states have laws requiring such a trial period, but it's always a good idea to be certain.
What do you want out of your hearing aid?
AARP says hearing loss professionals will ask questions about your lifestyle and hearing needs before suggesting which style and technology is best for you. Make sure to answer truthfully by telling your audiologist what you really want your hearing aid to be able to do for you. Prioritizing what you would like to better hear, whether it be television at home or speeches in a more public place, is crucial to picking the correct aid. Consider things that you used to do and have given up. Since hearing aids can act like tiny time machines, you might get back to doing activities you thought you had to give up years ago.
What kinds of characteristics or add-ons do you think would be best for you?
Hearing aids can come equipped with a range of add-ons that make it easier to hear in different situations. For instance, "telecoil" add-ons amplify sounds and remove background noises more efficiently when using compatible telephones. Some hearing aids may even switch to the telecoil automatically when a phone is held to the ear. Directional microphones, according to the Mayo Clinic, can be helpful in picking up sound from right in front of you while reducing sounds beside and behind you. Some devices are now iPhone and Bluetooth-compatible. Whichever additional characteristics you think will be most useful in your daily life, it's important to determine your needs before choosing a device.
Asking these three questions will help both you and your audiologist determine what your best options are when it comes to choosing a hearing aid. Armed with the answers, you can make the most informed decision possible and get back to living your life to the fullest!
If you are concerned about hearing loss, for yourself or someone important to you, the audiologists and hearing health care professionals at AccuQuest can help. Contact your local AccuQuest Hearing Center to schedule a hearing test and consultation.
If you want to learn more about how your hearing works, hearing loss and hearing aids, how hearing aids work or why it is a good idea to see an audiologist or hearing health care professional, click here to view and download your own copy of AccuQuest's Journey to Better Hearing.