Which Is Best for Me?
Deciding on the right hearing aid can be intimidating, we’re here to make your decision easier.
Although the processing of modern hearing aids is complex, the basic components have not changed. Sound waves enter through the microphone, which converts them into electrical signals which run through an amplifier, boosting the signals’ strength. The receiver, a small speaker, then alters the electrical signals back into an acoustic signal. From the receiver, the signal is sent into the ear canal using either a small tube or an ear mold, depending on the hearing aid that best suits your needs. A small battery powers the amplification process and hearing aid itself.
Many hearing aids have easy-to-use controls, enabling the wearer to adjust a variety of hearing aid parameters. These parameters may include hearing aid power, volume, telecoil, custom microphone directionality settings, and pre-programmed settings.
Factors to Consider
Loss of Hearing Characteristics – The nature and severity of your hearing loss plays a huge role in determining which hearing aids are the best fit for you. Your hearing professional can help you understand your unique loss characteristics and recommend the models that will suit you best.
Lifestyle – Consider your day-to-day activities when gathering information about your hearing aids. What activities does your hearing loss affect? Are there things you are no longer able to do due to hearing loss? Express your needs, concerns, and set priorities. If you work outdoors or travel frequently for work, you may be concerned about your hearing aid’s durability and might consider if a backup is necessary. Express your needs, concerns, and priorities at your appointment to ensure you choose the best possible option.
Hearing Aid Technology –Hearing aid types differ in their technology or circuitry. In the early days, hearing aid technology involved vacuum tubes and large, heavy batteries. Today, microchips, computerization, and digitized sound processing are used in hearing aid design.
Digitally Programmable hearing aids have all the features of analog programmable aids but use digitized sound processing (DSP) to convert sound waves into digital signals. A computer chip in the aid analyzes the signals to determine whether the sound is noise or speech. It then makes modifications to provide a clear, amplified, distortion-free signal. Digital hearing aids are usually self-adjusting. The digital processing allows for more flexibility in programming the aid. In this way, the sound it transmits matches your specific pattern of hearing loss. This digital technology is the most expensive, but it offers many advantages. Key benefits include:
Managed loudness discomfort
Control of acoustic feedback (whistling sounds)
Some aids can store several programs. As your listening environment changes, you can change the hearing aid’s settings. This is
done by pushing a button on the hearing aid or by using a remote control. The aid can be reprogrammed by the audiologist if your hearing or hearing needs change.
These aids are more expensive than conventional analog hearing aids. However, they generally have a longer life span and may provide better hearing for you in different listening situations.
Hand Dexterity – The smallest hearing aids are the most discreet, but as they are small, your eyesight and dexterity are an important part of choosing the right hearing aid. Self-adjusting or remote-controlled aids are perfect if your eyesight or dexterity is limited.
Hearing Aid Appearance – Hearing aids come in a variety of sizes. Devices range from tiny, completely-in-the-canal models, to those that sit behind the ear (BTEs). Many people feel self-conscious about the appearance of hearing aids. Between the different style and size options, hearing aids have become quite discreet. If you still feel as though your hearing aid is noticeable, hairstyles and accessories can also play a role in disguising them.