What should you think about when buying hearing aids? Following is a list of seven factors to consider. All things aside, your hearing aid must be a good match for your loss characteristics, your lifestyle and fit comfortably when worn. Read through these factors and make some notes as to your priorities so you can discuss them at your appointment.
- Loss characteristics
The nature and severity of your hearing loss will play a large role in determining which hearing aids are ultimately recommended to you. We can help you understand your unique loss characteristics, and explain the models that would best suit your needs.
Consider your lifestyle, work environment, and free-time activities. What are the things you do that are most affected by hearing loss? What are the things, if any, that you are not able to do because of a hearing loss? Define your needs and set priorities. If you work outdoors or travel frequently, and are concerned about the durability of a hearing aid, be sure to review those concerns with your provider.
Sound quality is perhaps the most important consideration—it’s why you’re even considering purchasing a hearing aid. Digital technology is now available in every price range and allows for a wide range of flexibility.
The smallest hearing aids are the most discreet. However, if your eyesight or dexterity are factors in choosing a style of hearing aid, be certain to get a feel for what you will be working with to ensure you feel comfortable changing the batteries and inserting the aids.
Hearing aids come in a variety of sizes, from tiny, completely-in-the-canal models to those that sit behind the ear. Many people are overly concerned about appearance; however, it is wise to remember that others will be far less aware of your aid than you. In fact your loss is MORE noticeable when you’re not wearing a hearing aid.
- Physical Features
Physical factors can also influence your selection of a hearing aid. The shape and size of the outer ear and ear canal can make it difficult for some people to wear particular styles. For example, if your canal is extremely narrow, in-the-canal aids may not work for you. Your provider will help determine which hearing aid options are appropriate for you.
- One ear or two?
Two ears are better than one, since binaural, or two-ear hearing, is what helps us determine where sounds are coming from, and allows us to distinguish between competing sounds more easily. If you have a hearing loss in only one ear, you may be fine with one hearing aid. Age and noise-related hearing loss tend to affect both ears. If there is a loss in both ears, then you will benefit more with a binaural approach.