Choosing a Hearing Aid
Roughly one in five Americans experience hearing loss. The good news is that the majority can be helped with hearing aids. However, choosing them can be a daunting task, especially with the wide range of styles available. Keeping a few things in mind prior to setting out can help make the process considerably smoother.
Factors to Consider When Deciding on a Hearing Aid
Your first step in choosing a hearing aid is basic: have an audiologist evaluate your hearing.
Today’s digital hearing aids feature a lot of “bells and whistles” their predecessors did not; choosing which options and accessories will be most beneficial is an important concern. Some popular features include directional microphones, feedback suppression, amplifiers, digital noise reduction, automatic volume control, and wireless connectivity. While these are all helpful in certain situations, some might not be suited to your individual needs.
Consider Your Needs
Your lifestyle is another important factor to keep in mind. Some hearing aids work well for people who enjoy quiet get-togethers with just a few close friends, while others are geared toward those who prefer a more active lifestyle.
Because you will be wearing your hearing aids daily, you’ll want devices that feel comfortable and provide you with confidence. Fortunately, there are numerous styles ranging from tiny models that fit in the ear canals and are virtually invisible, to larger, less discrete units that provide more options and are easier to control.
Stay in Budget
Cost should not be overlooked, either. Hearing aids are available in a wide range of prices, some as little as a few hundred dollars while others can run into the thousands of dollars. While you may be tempted to save as much money as possible, the bottom line is this: make sure you invest in a hearing aid that you will wear. Saving a lot of money is meaningless if you aren’t going to wear your hearing aids!
Get a Diagnosis
This seems obvious, but seem people decide to shop for hearing aids without a proper diagnosis. Not all forms of hearing loss are treatable with hearing aids, and even if yours is, knowing the type and extent of your impairment is crucial in treating it. A hearing evaluation will measure the severity of your hearing loss in degrees that range from normal to profoundly deaf, as well as the frequency of your hearing loss and whether it is conductive (the result of damage to the outer or middle ears) or sensorineural (caused by damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve). It is important to choose a hearing aid that is made for your specific frequency loss.