If you are living with hearing loss, a hearing aid is one option you may be considering. How do you determine the best choice for your specific situation? The following tips can help as you consider what type of hearing aid could be right for you:
1. Find the right provider
First things first – start by finding a provider that you trust. The right doctor or audiologist can play an important role in guiding you through the process of choosing a hearing aid. Be sure that you have someone who will answer all of your questions fully and that you feel comfortable with every step of the way.
2. Understand the different styles
The three main styles of hearing aid are:
- Behind-the-ear: The primary component of this type of hearing aid sits in your ear with a coil that hooks behind your outer ear. Today, it is one of the most popular options for those living with hearing loss.
- In-the-ear: As the name suggests, this type sits entirely in your ear, outside of the ear canal. Once you are fitted for your hearing aid, it is then manufactured to fit your precise measurements. It is a more traditional option and is usually a very reliable choice.
- Completely-in-canal: By being located completely in the ear canal, this style is less visible. It is typically used in cases of mild or moderate hearing loss.
If possible, try on each of these options to determine which feels most comfortable. Every person is different, so what feels right for your friend may not be best for you.
3. Consider additional features
Once you’ve decided on the style that you prefer, give some thought to the additional features that you might like. Some of these choices highlighted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association include:
- Telecoil switch: This feature allows you to move from your normal settings to a special setting designed for speaking on the telephone to help you avoid any high-pitched feedback.
- Directional microphone:Normally, a hearing aid picks up sound equally from every direction. But with a directional microphone, you can choose where to put the focus. For example, you could to aim the microphone on a speaker at the front of a room or a performer in the theater.
- Direct audio input: With this feature, you can connect your hearing aid directly to a TV, computer or other device so you can hear the audio without any interference.
Determining the features that will be most helpful in your current lifestyle will help shape your ultimate decision.
4. Think through your priorities
Giving some thought to what is important to you in a hearing aid can help you to make a final decision. Do you want to be able to catch every line of dialog while you watch TV? Or perhaps you want something hardier that will keep up with your active lifestyle. Determining your priorities will help ensure that you choose a hearing aid that meets your needs.
5. Ask for a demonstration
When it comes to your health, you should never be afraid to ask for more information. In the case of finding a hearing aid, one of the best ways to get the information you need is to ask for a demonstration.
6. Read the fine print
Before committing to a specific hearing aid, be sure to read the fine print. Your hearing aid is an important investment in your health, so you want to make sure you understand all the details. You should pay particular attention to the warranty. Many models come with 30- or 60-day trial periods and then are covered under a warranty that may extend a year or two, possibly more. These pieces of information should influence your ultimate decision. Also take the time to understand what your health insurance helps to cover.
By following these six tips, you’ll be able to find the hearing aid that is most suited to your lifestyle and level of hearing loss.