Hearing Aids: Selecting What's Right For You

May 7th 2016

Modern technology has created some amazing options to help people suffering from hearing loss, but the choices can be overwhelming. The best way to purchase a new hearing aid is to work with a qualified audiologist.

Size and Style

There are many types of hearing aids that range from in-the-canal pieces that are nearly invisible all the way to in-the-ear styles that fill up most of the lower portion of your outer ear. The most common styles involve a piece that fits behind the ear and connects to a receiver or a mold in the ear canal. Smaller hearing aids, such as the ITC ones, are often only suitable for people with minimal hearing loss. Behind-the-ear aids are usually the best mix of appearance and function for people with more severe hearing loss.

Sound Amplifiers vs. Hearing Aids

You can buy inexpensive sound amplifiers over the counter in many pharmacies or electronics stores. However, they work by simply turning the volume up. In contrast, hearing aids are essentially small computers that digitize the sound they pick up. They then filter that sound and transmit it to your ear. This helps filter out distracting background noises and preserves the quality of the sound.

Special Features

Many newer hearing aids involve a variety of additional features, including the ability to program multiple settings, control them with a remote and use a telecoil to hear better when talking on the phone. Some also connect to a program called Hearing Loop, which transmits sounds directly from televisions or public speakers into your hearing aids. These features may increase the price; consider when you need the most hearing support before purchasing a new hearing aid.

Conclusion

Hearing loss can severely impact your quality of life by making you unable to experience conversation and entertainment like you did before. However, modern technology has made it easier to counteract some of that loss. Although no hearing aid can fully restore you to normal hearing, the right hearing aid can mitigate problems without getting in the way of your daily life.

Sources

MayoClinic.org "Hearing aids: How to choose the right one" http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hearing-loss/in-depth/hearing-aids/art-20044116
ConsumerReports.com "Hearing aid buying guide" http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/hearing-aids/buying-guide.htm
Member.AARP.org "How to shop for a hearing aid" http://member.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-05-2011/getting-the-right-hearing-aid.html#slide1

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