There are a number of factors to consider when buying hearing aids. Below is a list of seven factors to consider:
Severity of hearing loss
This is one of the most important factors to consider is the nature and severity of your hearing loss. Your hearing professional can help you understand your unique loss characteristics, and explain the models that would best suit your needs. This may involve undertaking a number of hearing tests to determine the extent of the hearing loss and the most suitable product.
It is important to think about your lifestyle and when the hearing aid is to be worn. What are the things you do that are most affected by hearing loss? Does your hearing prevent you from undertaking certain tasks or activities? Does your loss of hearing affect your job? Discuss your needs with the hearing expert who can recommend products that suit your lifestyle.
The quality of the sound is perhaps the most important consideration. With advancements of digital hearing aids, the quality of the sound can often be fined tuned to suit your needs. Again the hearing expert will be able to help you assess the level of sophistication you need based on a range of issues.
Hearing aids are now often very small and discreet. However, if your eyesight or dexterity is less than what they used to be, size may indeed matter. As a very small hearing aid may be too fiddly to control. Alternatively, some new instruments adjust automatically or via remote control.
Hearing aids now come in a variety of sizes, from tiny, completely-in-the-canal models to those that sit behind the ear. Many people are overly concerned about appearance, and it’s wise to remember that others will be far less aware of your aid than you. Most hearing aids are quite discreet. Consider the functionality and improvement in hearing, rather than just appearance.
The size and shape of your outer ear and ear canal may also influence your selection of a hearing aid. For example, if your canal is extremely narrow, in-the-canal aids may not work for you. Your hearing professional will help determine which hearing aid options are appropriate for you.
One ear or two ears?
Two ears are better than one, since binaural, or two-ear hearing, is what helps us determine where sounds are coming from, and to distinguish between competing sounds more easily. If you have a hearing loss in only one ear, you may be fine with one hearing aid. Age- and noise-related hearing loss tend to affect both ears, but your hearing profile for each ear is probably different. If there is a loss in both ears, then you will benefit more with a binaural approach. In addition, some benefits of digital technology require two hearing aids.
Today, about two-thirds of new purchasers opt for dual hearing aids, and as a group, they report a higher level of satisfaction than purchasers of a single aid. Discuss the pros and cons with your hearing professional.