Modern-day advances in technology ensure that your hearing loss can be efficiently treated with the appropriate hearing aid model.
The difficulty is choosing the right one.
With all of the hearing aid models that are available, it can be a little overwhelming. But by taking into account four factors—together with help from an experienced hearing care professional—you can easily find the perfect hearing aid model for you.
How All Hearing Aids Work
Before we discuss the differences, it will help to keep in mind how all hearing aids have fundamentally the same components.
Modern digital hearing aids are small electronic gadgets that are made up of four basic parts:
- The microphone picks up environmental sound and transmits it to the digital processor.
- The digital processor modifies the sound signal according to the settings programmed by the hearing specialist. The modified sound signal is then delivered 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 transferred to the speaker.
- The speaker delivers the magnified sound to the ear, causing louder, clearer sound.
Every hearing aid also has a battery, control and volume buttons, and additional features and functionality that we’ll discuss next.
How Hearing Aids Are Different
Even though all hearing aids have the same basic parts, there are four variables that render 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 several things such as the severity of your hearing loss, your manual dexterity, and your listening objectives.
- Ease of use – Will a smaller hearing aid be too difficult 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 use your hearing aids with your cell 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 biggest return for what you are paying. Financing options are also available to you.
Let’s discuss the four variables in more depth.
Hearing Aid Style
Hearing aids are available in a range of styles, and your selection may rely simply on cosmetic preference.
Here are a few of the most common styles:
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids – these have the majority of the hearing aid parts contained in a small 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 are also available that are scaled-down. These hearing aids are easy to handle and simple to clean.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids – these have all of the hearing aid parts included in a shell that fills in the exterior part 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 totally in the ear canal, making them virtually invisible.
In regards to deciding on a style, consider the tradeoffs among size, ease-of-use, battery life, and functionality, and make sure you go over these items with your hearing specialist.
Hearing Aid Ease-of-Use
An element that is often neglected 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 favor the behind-the-ear styles.
You might also wish to look into digital hearing aids that can be managed with mobile technology, like a cell phone or digital watch. This makes it convenient to monitor battery life, adjust the volume, and switch among environmental presets programmed by your hearing specialist.
Hearing Aid Functionality
Functionality is always a concern, and you should speak to your hearing specialist regarding any special circumstances or activities you commonly perform. As an example, if you frequently use the phone, you’ll probably want hearing aids outfitted with telecoils or Bluetooth compatibility.
Also ask about directional microphones and background noise reduction that can heighten your ability to hear speech and partake in conversation.
Hearing Aid Price and Financing
Last, after thinking about the above factors, you should figure out the price you’re prepared to spend for the benefits you’ll enjoy from healthier hearing.
Although it’s a fact that no one can make this judgment 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.
The fact is, the per month expense of a hearing aid is often less than the monthly cost of cable television—and hearing aids will have a bigger influence on your all-around quality of life than viewing reruns of CSI.
After you have a notion of what you’re interested in, your hearing specialist can help you narrow down the options. Then, you can select the model that matches all of your needs for style, ease-of-use, functionality, and cost.
Once you’ve picked out your perfect model, your hearing specialist will then custom-program the hearing aids to best amplify sound in accordance to your distinct hearing loss, which was measured during the hearing test (audiogram). And keep in mind that, irrespective of the model you pick out, it won’t function correctly unless programmed by a hearing care professional.
Last, you’ll get to test your new hearing aids during the trial period. It will take a little 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 discover your perfect pair of hearing aids, talk to us today!