Choosing a hearing aid can be complicated and stressful. The good news is, there are more choices than ever these days! The bad news is…there are more choices than ever these days. Digital technology has led to a new generation of smaller hearing devices that are packed with more features and options than ever. You may feel overwhelmed when it comes to picking out hearing aids, but following a few simple guidelines should help you in the decision-making process.
The first step is to have an audiologist assess the extent and frequency of your hearing loss. A hearing evaluation will help determine the severity of your hearing loss in degrees ranging from mild to profound. In addition, the frequency of your loss will be determined. Conductive hearing loss is the result of damage to the outer or milled ear and affects your ability to hear low frequencies, while sensorineural hearing loss involves damage to the inner ear and hinders your ability to understand high frequencies. This is important, because different hearing aids are geared toward amplifying different frequency levels.
You’ll want to carefully consider which features and options are most important to you, based on your level of hearing loss and your personal preference. Some of the more popular features available for hearing aids include directional microphones, feedback suppression, digital noise reduction, amplifiers, automatic volume control, and wireless/Bluetooth connectivity. Prices add up quickly, so choose wisely.
Your lifestyle is another important consideration. Some hearing aids work great for those who are active and on the go, while others are best suited to individuals who enjoy quite, leisurely activities.
Cosmetic preference is important to many. You’ll be wearing your hearing aids every day, and will want to feel confident when in the company of other people. Some individuals prefer devices that are implanted deeply in the ear canal so they are nearly invisible, while others opt for flesh-toned cases that blend in with the skin. Some people are unconcerned with hiding their condition. There is no right or wrong choice, and plenty of options to appeal to your personal needs.
Last but not least, cost is a factor. Hearing aids are rarely inexpensive, but remember that they are an investment that will provide you with the ability to communicate, and can restore your confidence and happiness. It’s difficult to put a price tag on such intangibles!