Tips for Selecting Hearing Aids

Tips for Selecting Hearing Aids
Dr. Steinberg
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Thinking about hearing aids is an exciting step towards treating hearing loss. Hearing aids are an incredibly innovative device that provide ample support for millions of people with hearing loss. Like most electronic devices today, hearing aids have benefited tremendously from innovative technology. They are more advanced and savvy than ever before, offering a range of features and cutting edge technologies that are designed to deliver enhanced sound quality in everyday environments. 

With many to choose from, navigating your options can be overwhelming. But your hearing healthcare provider will use their expertise and the specifics of your hearing and lifestyle needs to recommend devices that are optimal for you. To better prepare, there are tips you can practice that can help you select hearing aids that meet your needs. A few tips include the following: 

1. Establish your hearing needs. Understanding your hearing needs will inform the type of hearing aid that will work best for you. It is important to have your hearing health comprehensively evaluated by a hearing healthcare specialist. Hearing tests involve a painless process that measures your hearing capacities in both ears. This identifies the type of hearing loss and the degree of impairment in each ear that you are experiencing. This process will tell you the types of sounds and speech that are tougher for you to hear. This information helps determine the type of hearing aid that will effectively meet your hearing needs. 

2. Learn more about hearing aid styles. There are various types of hearing aids which refer to the style, or how the hearing aid is worn. Learning about common hearing aid styles is useful so that you understand the type of device that will best support your hearing. Hearing aids styles are categorized as: 

  • Behind The Ear (BTE): BTE hearing aids are likely what you picture when you think about a hearing aid. BTE devices consist of a hard shell case that contains hearing aid components inside. This piece is worn behind the top of the outer ear and a thin tube connects this portion to a piece worn in the ear. There are different types of BTE hearing aids including mini BTE. 
  • In The Ear (ITE): ITE hearing aids are custom made devices that are designed to be worn in the outer portion of the ear or inside the ear canal. ITE devices are made using custom molding of your ears which ensures a perfect and comfortable fit. There are different types of in the ear hearing aids including: completely in canal (CIC) and in the canal (ITC). 

The type of hearing aid that is ideal for you will depend on the degree of impairment you are experiencing. 

3. Identify your budget. Hearing aids can range in terms of price. Price points depend on a few factors including the model of hearing aid, features offered, technologies etc. To better help you narrow down your options, identifying a budget can be helpful. Also be sure to check-in with your insurance provider to know if any coverage is offered (though most often, insurance providers do not cover hearing aids). It is also important to remember that hearing aids are an investment in your health and are devices that you use everyday. They are also designed to last so they are durable devices that last up to 7 years. 

4. Consider lifestyle factors. It is also important to think about various lifestyle factors when identifying the type of hearing aid that will work best for you. This includes the types of spaces you regularly navigate, your work environment, any activities you engage in etc. This helps surface what your hearing needs are in your everyday life and what your hearing aid needs to be able to do to support your hearing in these environments. 

5. Explore hearing aid technologies. There is a range of innovative technologies and features that today’s hearing aids offer. Learning more about these features is a great way to identify what you are interested in and what can best service you. Features include wireless connectivity, digital noise reduction, tinnitus management, apps and virtual assistants etc. Be sure to discuss these technologies with your hearing healthcare provider. 

In addition to these tips, ask your hearing healthcare provider about warranty plans and trial periods. Trying hearing aids out before committing to them is another strategy you can use to ensure you invest in a device that is optimal for you.