How to Select the Right Hearing Aid
In today’s market, there are many types of hearing aids to choose from. Not only do styles and technology vary, but so too do cost, size, placement and special features. Without help, navigating the world of hearing aids can be confusing. As such, if you have been diagnosed with hearing loss, it is important to converse with your audiologist. They will help you determine which hearing aid is best for you, based on your age, lifestyle and degree of hearing loss.
How hearing aids work
Although hearing aid styles differ and vary, all aids function in the same basic way. Hearing aids are equipped with small microphones that collect sounds from the surrounding environment.
Within the aid, a computer chip equipped with an amplifier converts the incoming sound into digital code. The chip will then analyze and adjust the sound based on the type and degree of your hearing loss, creating amplified signals. These signals are converted back into sound waves and delivered into the ears through the speakers. It is important to remember that hearing aids will not restore hearing; rather, they assist hearing, helping someone hear better than they did before, especially in loud environments.
What types of hearing aids are available?
As mentioned before, there are many types of hearing aids available for those suffering from hearing loss. The types of hearing aid an individual can choose will depend first and foremost on the type and degree of hearing loss they are diagnosed with. Hearing aids suitable for individuals with mild-to-moderate hearing loss include:
- Invisible-in-canal aids
- Completely-in-canal hearing aids
- Receiver-in-canal devices
Individuals with more profound or severe hearing loss will likely best benefit from hearing aid types such as:
- In-the-canal aids
- In-the-ear devices
- Behind-the-ear hearing aids
What special features or accessories are available?
In an effort to differentiate brands and to better meet the growing needs of those with hearing loss, many hearing aid manufacturers offer accessories with their hearing aids. Your audiologist will likely go over the types of accessories available with hearing aids and discuss how you could benefit from the use of such items. Hearing aid features include:
- Noise reduction
- Directional microphones
- Rechargeable batteries
- Wireless connectivity
- Remote controls
- Direct audio input
- Variable programming
- Environmental noise control
The best way to select the right hearing aid for you is to be evaluated by an audiologist. Once your hearing loss is determined, they will be able to work with you through your hearing test results to find the perfect hearing device for your particular hearing loss.