How to Select the Right Hearing Aids for You
If you were to meet two people who have both been diagnosed with the same degree of hearing loss, it might be reasonable to expect that they would be using identical hearing aids.
However, meeting two people who have individually chosen the exact same hearing aid is incredibly unlikely, even if they share the same level of hearing loss. Selecting a hearing aid is a very individual, unique process and everyone will have very different preferences and priorities when choosing their own device.
If you are currently in the process of selecting your own hearing aids, it is therefore crucial to focus on finding the right hearing aid for your specifically. Consider the three areas to focus on when trying to do just that.
1) Hearing aid style
There are three main styles of hearing aids to choose from:
- Behind-the-ear (BTE)
- For mild to profound hearing loss.
- The receiver sits behind the ear while the microphone is positioned close to the ear canal, with a plastic tube connecting the two.
- Excellent battery life and easy to maintain.
- In-the-ear (ITE)
- For mild to severe hearing loss.
- A single device that covers some or all of the outer ear.
- Relatively inconspicuous and offer excellent sound quality.
- In-the-canal (ITC)
- For mild to mildly-severe hearing loss.
- Even smaller than ITE devices and designed to be placed in the ear canal itself.
- Very discreet but still large enough for a number of different features.
Your hearing health professional will be able to advise on which style is most suitable for your hearing needs and that you feel comfortable wearing it.
2) How features may benefit your lifestyle
Hearing aids can do far more than provide amplification. Many devices available on today’s market come equipped with accessories and additional features. Wind reduction, for example, can be very beneficial if you spend a lot of time outdoors, while audiophiles may want to consider hearing aids that can connect directly to a Bluetooth or FM signal. If you have been diagnosed with tinnitus, or “ringing in the ears,” then you may want to consider hearing aids that offer tinnitus masking, or if you regularly attend concerts, then a telecoil is sure to be advantageous.
3) Ongoing usage and maintenance
Finally, it is helpful to think about how easy the device will be to use and maintain. You will need to be able to use your hearing aid and conduct routine maintenance, such as replacing the battery, so size may be a factor in your decision. For example, many hearing aid users with dexterity concerns find that larger devices are more comfortable.
It is also worth considering cleaning requirements. While most hearing aids are relatively easy to keep clean, devices that sit closer to the ear canal can require a little more upkeep due to the higher chance of earwax buildup. If you select a device that may lead to you experiencing this issue, ask your hearing health provider for tips on cleaning your device after each use.
We all have very different perceptions of what constitutes the “right” hearing aid, so considering all of the above along with the advice of your hearing health professional is the best route to finding the right hearing aid for your needs specifically.