With so many hearing aid options available, it can be difficult to find the best one for your hearing needs. You might worry about how your hearing aids will look, feel, and whether your device will work the way you need it to. Before getting a hearing aid, it helps to know which brands work for different needs and consider these factors first.
What to Consider When Picking a Hearing Aid Brand
Before you start looking for a hearing aid, go to the doctor and get a referral to an audiologist for a hearing assessment. An audiologist can help you find the best hearing aid brand for your needs. Try to get a hearing aid with a trial period, so if you don’t like the fit, sound, look, or anything else about the device, you can return it. You should also ask if your chosen hearing aid has a warranty to protect against any problems with it.
Often, hearing loss is progressive, which means it can worsen over time. When choosing your hearing aid, ask whether it can accommodate your potential future needs. While hearing aids don’t last forever, you’ll want to know whether it has enough power to adjust the volume if your hearing loss gets worse. Lastly, hearing aid costs vary between brands, so before you choose the one for you, ask how much you’ll need to pay. Also, be sure to discuss if you’ll need extra features like a remote control or accessories.
Types of Hearing Aids
Each type of hearing aid works differently, even if they are designed for a similar purpose. There are four main types of hearing aids, including:
- Behind-the-ear (BTE): With these hearing aids, the battery, microphone and controls all sit in a compartment behind the ear. They work best for mild to profound hearing loss.
- In-the-canal (ITC): ITC hearing aids are lightweight and sit in the ear canal with no behind the ear component. They are comfortable, small, and work well for moderate to severe hearing loss.
- In-the-ear (ITE): This hearing aid style sits in the outer part of the ear and is larger than the ITC kind. They work well for mild to severe hearing loss.
- Receiver-in-canal (RIC): RIC hearing aids put the receiver in your ear canal. They are very small and work for mild to moderate hearing loss.
Hearing aids come with different electronic configurations, which means they convert sound differently. Analog hearing aids convert sound waves and send electrical signals to change the volume. Digital hearing aids convert sound waves to numerical codes that the device then amplifies. Digital hearing aids are also more expensive than analog ones, but they are more commonly used.
Hearing Aid Features to Look For
While your hearing aid should make it easier for you to hear, you should consider other hearing aid features that can make using your device more convenient or comfortable. Before you make your decision, consider these other hearing aid features and whether they might enhance your hearing experience:
- Telecoil: This feature connects to public sound systems to help eliminate background noise and distinguish sounds better.
- Noise reduction: Noise reduction lowers background and white noise, like wind, crowds, and other sounds.
- Rechargeable batteries: Rechargeable batteries are more convenient and easier for people who have challenges with dexterity or vision.
- Remote control: With this feature, you can adjust features without touching your hearing aid. You can even change your settings from a mobile app.
- Remote microphones: When you’re out of the house and in a noisy area, a remote or directional microphone allows you to point the microphone at the speaker, so you can hear them even with others talking around you.
- Synchronization: If you have two hearing aids, synchronization lets you adjust both at once.
- Direct audio input: This feature lets you plug into a device like a TV or a computer using a cord to hear better.
At Sonora Hearing Care, LLC, our audiologists have the experience and expertise to help you choose the best hearing aid for your needs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and ask how a hearing aid can improve your hearing experience.