What You Should Know Before Purchasing A Hearing Aid
Choosing the right type of hearing aid is a personal process that requires thorough consultation with an audiologist. As you explore your options, take some time to learn how various instruments compare to one another.
Your Hearing Loss Characteristics
The nature and severity of your hearing loss will play a large role in determining which hearing instruments can offer the best listening experience.
Consider your work and free-time activities. Does your hearing loss make any of these particularly challenging or even impossible? Now define your needs and set some priorities. The characteristics of your primary listening environments may also help narrow your options.
Your Technology Needs
Today's hearing aids cover a wide range of designs and degrees of sophistication. Some models have manual volume controls. Others automatically adjust to new listening situations.
Most hearing aids process sound digitally and allow for fine-tuning to suit a wearer's specific hearing needs. Many use multiple microphones to filter out background noise and facilitate conversation.
Sound quality is the most important consideration in choosing a hearing device. But not every technological advance benefits every hearing loss, and even basic hearing instruments can deliver appropriate sound quality. Ask Dr. Stakiw to help you assess the level of sophistication you need.
Your Ear Anatomy
Physical factors can influence your selection of a hearing instrument. The shape and size of the ear canal can make wearing a particular style difficult for some individuals. For example, if your canal is extremely narrow, an in-the-canal instrument may not be the best fit.
One Ear or Two?
If your hearing loss affects just one of your ears, you may only need one hearing instrument. Although age- and noise-related hearing loss tend to affect both ears.
In general if hearing loss is in both ears, a binaural (two-ear) approach is most effective. It helps a wearer distinguish between sounds more easily and determine which direction a sound is coming from. In addition, some of the benefits of today's digital technology are only possible with a binaural hearing aid system.
Today, about two-thirds of new hearing aid wearers opt for dual hearing instruments. As a group, these wearers report a higher level of satisfaction than those who purchase a single instrument.
Ease of Use
The smallest hearing instruments are the most discreet, but they can also be more difficult to operate. If you experience vision or dexterity challenges, you may want to consider a larger device or try one that adjusts automatically.
Hearing Aid Appearance
Hearing instruments come in a variety of sizes and styles. Some instruments fit discreetly behind your ear, while others are so small that they're almost entirely hidden. Remember: Others will be far less aware of your instrument than you are.
Value and Pricing
Your hearing aid is much more than a piece of plastic - it houses state-of-the-art technology. It's an investment in your quality of life - in the ability to fully participate in your relationships, work and activities.
Think about what you value most in a hearing solution. Is it the latest technology? Is it comfort or ease of use? Defining your priorities and expectations will help you decide how much you're willing to spend for your hearing instrument.
Hearing instruments generally run from several hundred to a few thousand dollars. Typically, prices reflect the amount of research and development that has gone into the product, as well as the quality of its components and warranty length.