Each person is unique, and no two forms of hearing loss the same. And when it comes to hearing aids, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Thankfully, with the assistance of an audiologist, you’ll be able to find a hearing aid that suits well with your needs and your unique form of hearing impairment. Below, we’ll explain the path to buy a hearing aid, and what you should think.
Learn the fundamentals
Hearing aids include a sound pick-up microphone, an amplifier to make it more transparent, and a receiver to deliver the signal into the ear canal.
Now microphones can transmit sound to a computer chip in modern digital aids, which controls the volume and amplifies the sound levels required to enhance your hearing.
A hearing professional can program hearing aids to filter out wind and background noise and fine-tune the aid to match your particular pattern of hearing loss.
Ask for help
While you are the only one who thoroughly understands the situations where it’s difficult to hear, you don’t have to manage this alone. A partner, family member, or loved one’s assistance will make the road to safe hearing easier for you to handle.
It can also help to have someone there to help you weigh through the many options. You might want to enlist the help of someone who has already been through the process of getting hearing aids themselves. It could be that this person has relevant information or advice to share.
Learn about the various styles of hearing aid
There are three main types of hearing aid, each with their strengths to consider.
Behind the ear: These rest behind the ear and attach to a tailor-made ear mold mounted to the external ear. Different colors and styles are available; some try to match the color to the tone of their skin, which blends in more. These are likely to have the most significant number of features.
In the ear: These are custom made for sitting in your ear canal (by an ear mold typically taken during hearing aid consultations). They are suitable for mild to severe hearing loss.
Canal: There are two types of hearing aids for the ear canal – Completely in the channel (CIC) and Invisible in the canal (IIC). The CIC is located in the ear canal and is barely visible. The IIC lies deeper within the ear canal. These are the smallest possible type of hearing aids.
Learn about hearing aid features
With so many features in hearing aids, hearing aid marketing can be a little overwhelming. Here are some of the main features, and why they could help you understand better.
- Telecoil: A telecoil is a lightweight sensor that links wirelessly to hearing-aid-compatible telephones and public address systems such as meeting rooms, concert halls, libraries, taxis, and even subway trains. A Telecoil can help people with mild to severe hearing loss understand a speaker’s voice better by making it louder and removing background noise and reverberation.
- Direct Bluetooth technology: Although Bluetooth technology is nothing new in hearing aids, recent models feature direct connectivity to any Bluetooth device. You can stream your favorite content directly to your ear.
- Rechargeable batteries: Older hearing aids were known to require new batteries every two days or less. Recent developments in rechargeable technology have allowed the new hearing aids to run on one overnight charge for a whole day. It makes them a much more convenient tool for daily use, as you simply charge them with your smartphone at night.
- Directional Microphone: This function helps you to converse in noisy environments by making the audio signal louder than the noise in front of you from the rear or sides.
- Suppression of feedback: Suppressing feedback tends to quell high-pitched whistling sounds. Even a proper fit will lower feedback.
- Digital Noise Reduction (DNR): When you’re more socially active, you’re more likely to be exposed to even more background-noise conditions. This is a situation where people have the most problems following conversations. By blocking any background noise, DNR increases listener satisfaction and contact in noisy environments.
Think about the way you work.
The kind of lifestyle you lead defines which features will be right for you, and the type of hearing aid. Consider which of these three lifestyle levels resonates with you the most.
Challenging lifestyle: You are active throughout the day and need to communicate with a lot of people. You spend time in dynamic and loud settings such as noisy restaurants, sporting events, or concerts.
Moderate lifestyle: You interact in small groups and engage in social gatherings. You enjoy shopping trips or going to the movies.
Comfortable lifestyle: Most of the time is spent at home or in a quiet environment, but in one-on-one situations, you need to be able to hear well.
Knowing what kind of lifestyle you lead can help you pick the right hearing aid for you.
How to get started
If you haven’t taken a hearing test yet, we recommend you book a consultation with us first. If you have hearing loss, we will help you answer your questions and find the best option for your budget, lifestyle, and hearing needs.