Scouring the net for hearing aids, but overwhelmed with information and variety? You’re not the only one. With a huge range of hearing aids of every shape and size available on the market, choosing the right one which is best suited to your hearing loss can seem impossible. There are various factors that should be considered when looking for the perfect hearing aid; such as cost, design, features, and sound quality. Hearing aid manufacturers are continually improving the quality and design of hearing aids to increase their scope, making them more effective and useful for a wider audience. These nifty devices don’t restore your hearing, but instead act like glasses for the visually impaired; they merely correct the deficit. But, whilst you're wearing a hearing aid it should enable you to hear properly without its presence being felt - that’s our idea of the perfect hearing aid. So, let’s get on with finding you your perfect match.
Types of hearing aids
To start, it’s important you know about all the different types of hearing aids out there and what they mean. The 2 basic types of hearing aids, which are named based on where they are worn on the ear, are in-the-ear hearing devices and behind-the-ear ones.
In-The-Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids
The name says it all: these hearing aids sit inside the ear, and not around it. The part of the external ear, which transmits sound to the eardrum, middle ear, and inner ear, is the external auditory meatus. It is inside this tunnel that in-the-ear devices sit, and inside the bowl-shaped part of your ear. Having said that, there are two further types:
In-The-Canal (ITC) Hearing Aids
An in-the-canal hearing aid is placed so that it is mostly in the canal but with up to half of it resting in the shell of the ear. It’s not very visible and, due to its slightly larger size, has more functional capabilities. Though, it is still very small and can be fiddly to adjust.
Completely-In-Canal (CIC) Hearing Aids
These reside virtually inside the canal and thus are near invisible to others. This is a popular choice for those who are looking for a discreet hearing solution.
Most hearing aid users yearn for great hearing without a device dominating their ear, and some go as far as to look for an invisible hearing solution. IIC hearing aids are exactly that, an onlooker would never guess you were wearing a hearing aid. The device sits deep inside the canal, with none of it poking out. But, with this invisibility comes the sacrifice of wireless features, less powerful amplification of sound, and smaller batteries.
Behind-The-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
You probably know that your ear isn’t glued to the side of your face, but instead, it’s an appendage with around a 1-inch gap between it and your head. It’s exactly in this gap, or outer curvature of the ear, that BTE hearing aids fit. While these devices are traditional and cumbersome looking, they can fit more power and bigger batteries inside them; so, are often viewed as the best hearing aids for seniors. Also, they’re more economical than the discrete ITC hearing aids; which is great news for pensioners.
Additional Features To Look Out For
Rechargeable Hearing Aids
Life is stressful enough without having to worry about your hearing aids dying during the Q&A segment of an important presentation. Having fully charged hearing aids at the start of each day can assure the hearing impaired that they can hear better all day. Rechargeable battery hearing aids are, therefore, perfect if you need a reliable hearing aid. The Hear+Hi Rechargeable Hearing Amplifiers are a great example of easy-to-recharge and invisible hearing aids. They come with a handy case, which doubles up as a charging port.
Now, when purchasing rechargeable hearing aids it’s important you know about the differences between the types of batteries available. Lithium batteries are best as they last much longer than NiMH, which are used in many cheap hearing devices. Ironically, these cheaper devices work out more expensive in the long run, as they can only be recharged 200 times; in contrast to lithium batteries which can be recharged 500 to 1000 times. So, for a worthwhile investment, and if your budget allows, hearing aids powered by lithium batteries are a no-brainer. To dive even deeper, branded lithium batteries, like varta and Panasonic, tend to be even more durable and safer.
Bluetooth and telecoil hearing aids are very popular hearing solutions for young adults. In particular Bluetooth hearing devices, allow for connection to electronic gadgets and control over the hearing device using an app. This includes automatic volume adjustments of hearing aids, and also noise reduction is better in wireless digital hearing aids. They are a little pricier; but, if you’re already looking for invisible hearing aids, chances are they come with Bluetooth.
Audio Enhancing Technology
While hearing aids have the same functional unit, consisting of a microphone, a receiver, and an amplifier; the performance of a hearing device is greatly affected by the quality of these components. The Knowles driver is a notoriously excellent driver found in the receivers of some hearing aids, like the Acuity line of products by Hear+Hi. This driver is the best of class and delivers premium sound quality.
How To Select The Right Hearing Aid For You
Now that you know what’s out there, in terms of the hearing aid market, you should consider the following factors when choosing a hearing aid. After all, they're pricey little devices and very important to your well-being; so compromising on your hearing needs is out of the question.
Set A Realistic Budget
Hearing aids alone aren’t expensive, but they are attached to numerous heavy charges. From audiologist fees to bi-yearly servicing costs; your hearing aid cost can quickly double. Online hearing aid vendors tend to include dispensing and servicing charges in the price of the hearing aids and can work out a much more cost-effective and transparent way of buying hearing aids.
Does Visibility Of Hearing Aid Bother You?
For some people, especially seniors, the substance is a much bigger priority over style. And, as hearing notoriously worsens with age, it’s important that hard-of-hearing seniors opt for more powerful hearing aids, which are often larger. However, for those with less severe hearing loss and a healthy budget for their hearing aids; there’s nothing better than invisible, or in-the-ear, hearing devices. It’s important you know what affects your self-confidence so that to hear better you don’t have to compromise on how you feel. Hearing aids are designed to empower you.
Gage Your Hearing Loss
The greater the severity of hearing loss the more powerful a hearing device you will require, which often come in the form of in-the-canal hearing aids or behind-the-ear ones. If you’re unsure, you can always visit a good audiologist or take a free hearing test using the Hear+Hi Hearing Test App.
Consider Your Day-To-Day Activities
Use and your daily schedule are important when considering which features are most important for you when choosing a hearing device. For example, if you spend many hours watching TV then you should consider hearing aids specialized for TV viewing; whereas if you need hearing aids throughout a long working day, then it’s important to prioritize battery life.
So there you have it, A complete guide to choosing the Best Hearing aids Devices. Choosing the right hearing aid is really important and it can change your life for the better. It helps you to connect with people more comfortably, participate in everyday activities with more confidence and overall enhance your ability to communicate in a better way. Remember to keep in mind all the different factors aforementioned when selecting your hearing device. And, now that you have a better understanding of what to look for, enjoy shopping!
Which Is The Best Type of Hearing Aid for Severe Hearing Loss?
One thing to keep in mind is that hearing aids do not cure hearing loss. They make the sounds more clear making it easy for people to hear better. Severe hearing loss requires more powerful hearing aids in contrast to mini hearing aids with less power. For severe hearing loss, it is better to consult with an audiologist so you can be given more personalized hearing aid suggestions.
Which Is The Right Hearing Aid For Children?
The main thing while choosing the right hearing aids for children is the size. As kids run and play, they are not sensible enough to take proper care of such small objects on a daily basis. So it is important that the hearing aid should fit the child’s ear perfectly so that it is not loose and comfortable to wear as well. Behind-the-ear hearing aids are considered most suitable for children. The best thing about them is that they can be attached to different earmold types so they can be made fit for children. They are easy to replace and handle.
What Are Good Options For Hearing Aids For Seniors?
Hearing aids which are better for seniors are less fiddly and small and are easier to manage and control. For example, behind-the-ear hearing aids. They are bulky, visible, and easy to handle and use. Hearing aids that are small in size, or that require more attention and care, are not practical for seniors; such as completely-in-the-canal hearing aids which are practically invisible. CIC hearing devices are also difficult to remove and adjust, which can prove very tricky for older individuals,
How Do I Choose The Right Hearing Aid?
Choosing the right hearing aid depends on your lifestyle and your needs. If you are frequently on the go you have to look for aid with a telecoil. This feature extends the listening range and eliminates most of the unwanted noise. If you are looking for wireless connectivity you might want to go with the hearing aids that offer this feature. This will help you connect your hearing aid to your phone, tablet, computer, or even tv. If you are looking for hearing devices with more battery power then you can opt for rechargeable hearing aids. They liberate you from the difficult task of changing batteries. If you are looking for mini hearing devices then you will have to compromise on the power as the small size will not provide you with a lot of power and battery life. If you have severe hearing loss then you might want to consider the device with more power. So in short there is no one hard and fast rule as to how to choose the right hearing aid. It depends on your own preferences.