What to Look For When Selecting Hearing Aids

Woman suffering from hearing loss choosing a hearing aid.

What is the plan when you’ve realized that you need to get hearing aids? Hearing aids are about to become an important part of your life, so finding the right kind matters. If you find some hearing aids that are only available from the internet, then you can be fairly certain that they are likely to be pretty flimsy. If you really think that you can buy a quality device for less from the internet, then the sacrifice is how well you hear, and that’s your choice. What should you look for when investing in hearing aids?

Those Internet Knockoffs

Despite the fact that they seem to be a bargain, those poor quality internet hearing assistance devices will wind up costing you more over time. They are very low-quality and don’t perform very well. You have to replace dead batteries so often that it ends up costing a lot.

The only feature which these cheaper devices have is sound amplification. You get several different technologies in a modern high-quality hearing aid which can be customized to your precise needs. You can go cheap and purchase one online but you will miss out on important features.

You need to see your new hearing aids for what they are – an investment in your future. Hearing impacts every facet of your life so it’s not the place to try and save money. If you are unable to afford quality hearing aids, there may be other ways to get them, so don’t settle for something that is not what you really need.

Digital Vs. Analog

Digital hearing aids offer higher quality sound that is much more dependable. If you run across analog hearing aids, move on and look at the digital units, instead.

It’s likely all of the hearing aids you see at a quality retailer will be digital. It’s important to recognize analog devices are out there, though, and to educate yourself about the difference. Low-quality analog signals are what the older hearing aids process. With analog hearing aids, the quality of the sound is very inconsistent.

Finding The Ideal Features

When you go shopping for hearing aids think about the two elements which are features and style. You want features that make your life easier in a style that is comfortable. Some standard features to consider include:

  • Environmental noise control
  • Synchronization
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Directional microphones
  • Bluetooth
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Direct audio input
  • Noise reduction
  • Telecoils
  • Variable programming
  • Remote controls

Consider the Styles

When you get started researching hearing aids, you’ll find out that there are a lot of styles available. There is certainly a style that will meet your needs, and that’s the great news. Some of the different styles are:

  • Receiver-in-the-Ear (RIE)
  • Open Fit
  • Behind-the-Ear (BTE)
  • In-the-Ear (ITE)
  • Receiver-in-the-Canal (RIC)
  • In-the-Ear (ITE)

A pretty good definition of each style is offered by the names. BTE hearing aids include a piece that sits behind the ear. A clear piece of tubing connects the BTE to an ear-mold which sits in the opening of the ear canal.

Alternatively, ITE hearing aids sit, as you may have guessed, inside of the ear. This device goes at the opening of the ear canal and is just one unit. There is nothing behind the ear. ITC indicates “in the canal” and they are very similar to ITE’s but ITC’s go further into the ear canal so you can’t see them so much.

RIC devices and RIE hearing aids have a “receiver in the canal” and a “receiver in the ear” respectively, which are then connected to a unit behind the ear. These types of hearing aids are less conspicuous than a BTE.

Finally, open fit units are BTE devices but instead of connecting to an ear-mold, a tiny tube goes into the ear canal. If you can’t deal with the feeling of having something stuck inside your ear, this style is a good choice for you.

Thinking about all of these options, it’s time to decide which style and options will fit your needs the most. As an example, Bluetooth is a great feature to have, particularly if you use your smartphone or computer regularly. You can save money on replacement batteries if you get a model with a rechargeable battery and a telecoil is great for listening to lectures or seminars.

Finally, Consider Your Buying Options

Most qualified retailers will custom fit the device and give a free trial period. That’s where you will want to go to purchase your hearing aids. Having a chance to try out your new hearing aids before you buy them will give you confidence that you are making the best choice.

A good warranty will come with a quality hearing aid, make sure to look for that. What kind of coverage does it come with? Some will only pay for replacement parts, some cover the labor, also, and what about a new hearing aid if something goes wrong?

Schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist for a checkup and hearing test before you buy your hearing aids. Not all changes to your hearing require hearing aids.

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