Hearing aids are an important investment in your health. These savvy and innovative pieces of technology provide support for millions of people who live with hearing loss. Hearing aids transform hearing health and communication, improving relationships and social life. Similar to most electronic devices today, hearing aids have experienced exciting advancements over recent years. There is a wide range of features, styles, and technologies that are designed to create the best possible hearing experiences. With so much to choose from, navigating your options can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help you select hearing aids that will be optimal for your hearing needs and daily life:
- Understand your hearing needs. It is important to identify and understand what your hearing needs are. This involves having your hearing comprehensively evaluated by a hearing healthcare specialist. Hearing tests measure your hearing abilities in each ear which can differ. Be sure to take the time to talk to your hearing healthcare provider about your results and the specifics of your hearing loss. They will also use their expertise to recommend hearing aids that can effectively meet your needs and preferences.
- Learn about hearing aid styles. There are several hearing aid types or styles which refer to how the device is worn. Hearing aid manufacturers use three letter acronyms to describe the type, this includes:
- Behind The Ear (BTE): BTE hearing aids are like what you imagine when you picture a hearing aid. It consists of a hard shell case that contains hearing aid components worn behind the top of the outer ear. A thin tube connects this portion to a piece worn in the ear.
- In The Ear (ITE): ITE hearing aids are custom made to be worn in the outer portion of the ear. Custom molding ensures that the device fits in the ear and can be worn comfortably.
- Completely In Canal (CIC): this is a smaller type of hearing aid that is worn in the ear canal. They are custom made to fit perfectly in your ear, making them less visible.
The style of hearing aid that is best for you depends on the degree of hearing loss you have.
- Consider lifestyle factors. Another useful tip is to think about your lifestyle and the types of environments you navigate regularly. Your work setting, social life, and hobbies you participate in are important considerations when choosing a hearing aid. Your hearing needs to be supported in these environments and activities. These factors can also help identify the types of technologies and features that can best support your hearing.
- Establish a budget. It is also important to consider costs. Hearing aids can vary greatly when it comes to price, depending on the model and technologies the hearing aid features. And while insurance may provide some assistance with some aspects of hearing healthcare (hearing tests, appointments etc.), many still don’t offer coverage for hearing aids. So it is helpful to have a price point in mind when navigating your options.
- Know about hearing aid technologies. Today’s hearing aids are savvier and more technologically advanced than ever before. There are various technologies that hearing aids feature including:
- Wireless connectivity: using Bluetooth technology, hearing aids can wirelessly connect to other electronic devices. This allows them to stream audio directly which helps deliver sharper sound quality.
- Digital noise reduction: this feature separates background noise from speech, allowing people to hear the sounds they want to focus on much easier. This is especially useful in environments with background noise.
- Tinnitus masking features: tinnitus is a common symptom of hearing loss. This feature is designed to mask tinnitus, alleviating its impact and providing relief.
- Apps & assistants: many of today’s hearing aids offer a downloadable app where settings can be easily managed. They also come with a virtual assistant that wearers can conveniently access to perform certain tasks.
These features are among several types of technologies that hearing aids come with. It is important to discuss the features that you would most benefit from with your hearing healthcare provider.
Try them out. Be sure to discuss warranty options when selecting your hearing aid. Some warranty options provide trial periods that provide people with a certain amount of time to actually try their hearing aids without committing to them. This can be a useful way to explore your options and see what works best for you.