If you’ve been wondering whether to invest in hearing aids, the time is now! According to the Hearing Review, most people wait an average of seven years to get help. Those are too many years of missed sounds, sweet sentiments from people who love you, nature sounds, and laughter from your kids or grandkids. Today, hearing aids can be customized to adapt to your lifestyle, age, expectations, preferences, and so much more. So, you don’t have to wait that long. But what should you consider when choosing hearing aids? Read on to find out.
Your Hearing Needs
Before you buy hearing aids, you need to prioritize your hearing needs. Do you want to be listening to your favorite TV shows? Maybe you prefer to understand your coworkers better? Or you love music and want to enjoy every beat?
Whatever your priorities, it is important to choose the product that’s right for you. That’s why you should communicate your needs with your care provider, who will probably suggest:
A comprehensive hearing test will define the nature of your hearing loss. Each person’s hearing loss has different severity, type, and configuration – and all these will determine the type of hearing aid that will best suit you.
A hearing test gives an accurate measure of your hearing loss and might bring to light other ear problems like wax buildup, injury, or infection. Depending on this test, you may be recommended to see an otolaryngologist, commonly referred to as an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor.
Consult an Audiologist
A hearing specialist will help you understand your hearing challenges. Audiologists are specialists who diagnose and treat hearing disorders. Along with a physical test, they check your medical history and perform all the appropriate diagnostic tests.
Moreover, your audiologist will suggest the best hearing aid options to consider. Find a team that evaluates not only your hearing test, but your hearing loss in general, including your listening challenges, listening goals, and lifestyle.
Finding the Right Type of Hearing Aid
There are two main types of hearing aids:
Daily wear hearing aids are those that can be worn at any time by the user. They are worn at the start of the day and taken out when you go to bed. These devices can be used when undertaking various activities and are water-resistant. However, they shouldn't be used when swimming or showering. The styles range from behind-the-ear to in-ear varieties.
Extended wear hearing aids. These models are inserted into your ear by a specialist and aren’t visible. They are positioned close to your eardrum and can remain in your ear for long periods without the need to remove them, unless when changing batteries (between one to three months). They can stay on when showering but should be removed when swimming.
The extended wear hearing aids tend to be more expensive due to the craftsmanship, design, and technology they involve in ensuring that they can be inserted into your ear canal.
No matter your choice, choose a device that:
fits your lifestyle
falls within your budget
is comfortable to wear
works for your specific hearing loss challenge
It also helps to understand the pros and cons of each hearing aid before buying them. For example:
Behind the ear hearing aids offer directional microphones and are more capable of amplification than other styles. However, they tend to pick more wind than other models.
In-the-ear hearing aids may feature volume control that offers longer battery life. On the flip side, they are prone to earwax clogging the speakers and may pick up more wind noise. Not to mention, they are more visible.
In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are molded to partly fit in the ear canal, making them less visible. However, they are also susceptible to earwax clogging the speaker.
Do your due diligence to find a model that is not only comfortable but fits your lifestyle.
Hearing Aids Features
You must also consider the features you want in your hearing aids. Today, hearing aids come with advanced technology, so you might want to choose a hearing aid that befits the environment you're exposed to daily.
For example, if you're always exposed to diverse listening environments like the church, entertainment, parties, or restaurants, you will benefit more from a hearing aid with modern technology like a speech-focused directional microphone.
You might also want to consider noise reduction functionalities. If you only stay at home and watch TV, a hearing aid with basic technology should suffice.
Some of the common features to look out for when buying hearing aids include:
Direct audio input
Background noise filtering
Ease of Use
It's also important to consider how easy your hearing aids are to wear and use. These gadgets can be tiny, which can prove challenging to handle. For example, you can imagine how difficult it is to change the tiny batteries, especially for those with vision or dexterity issues.
In that case, a rechargeable model is more convenient. Additionally, models that can be adjusted using a remote control or automatically are more reliable.
Unfortunately, hearing aids are not covered by Medicare or most third-party players. Do your research and find financing programs that will help you pay for your hearing aids. Most importantly, stay within your budget.
Federal insurance programs that cover hearing aid include:
Federal Employee Program Blue Cross
Government Employees Health Association
Veterans Health Administration
You Don’t Have to Be Stuck with One Model
Luckily, every state in the U.S. has a law that allows at least 30 days to test your hearing aids. This means if you don’t like the ones you're currently using, you should be able to replace them.
Hearing aids are a huge investment, and you should ensure you only choose the ones that are comfortable, reliable, easy to use, and have the design and features you want.
Any thoughts? Let us know your comments!
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