When Picking Out a Hearing Aid, What Should You Look For?
What is the plan when you’ve realized that you need hearing aids? Hearing aids are about to become an important part of your life, so finding the right type matters. High-quality hearing aids can be purchased from a hearing aid specialist, while the cheaper flimsy ones can only be found on the internet. It’s up to you to decide what you expect from the device and how much you can afford to pay. When you are shopping for hearing aids, there are some sacrifices that you should be ok with, but is your hearing one of them?
Cheap Internet Knockoffs Are Not Actually Hearing Aids
Cheap hearing assistance devices are not actually the bargain they seem to be. They are very low-quality and don’t perform very well. Batteries will be expensive if you need to replace them all the time.
These cheap devices will help amplify sound, which is one basic feature of hearing aids but they don’t do anything else. You get several different technologies in a modern high-quality hearing aid that can be customized to your exact needs. You can go cheap and purchase one online but you will miss out on important features.
You have 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. There might be other ways that you can get hearing aids if you can’t afford them, so make sure you get what you really need.
Analog Vs. Digital
Digital hearing aids offer higher quality sound that is more reliable. Analog units are outdated and are not worth considering.
If you go to a reputable hearing aid retailer, all of the hearing aids will be digital. It’s worthwhile to know analog devices are out there, though, and to understand 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.
Choosing The Perfect Features
Features and style are the two factors of hearing aid shopping. You want features that make your life easier in a style that is comfortable. A few common features to consider include:
- Wireless connectivity
- Rechargeable batteries
- Variable programming
- Directional microphones
- Noise reduction
- Direct audio input
- Remote controls
- Environmental noise control
Consider the Styles
You will discover, when you start researching hearing aids, that there are many styles to pick from. Thankfully, there are so many styles to choose from that finding a style that works for your needs is almost guaranteed. Some of the different styles are:
- In-the-Ear (ITE)
- Receiver-in-the-Canal (RIC)
- Receiver-in-the-Ear (RIE)
- Open Fit
- Behind-the-Ear (BTE)
- 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 attaches the BTE to an ear-mold which rests in the opening of the ear canal.
On the other hand, ITE hearing aids sit, you guessed it, inside of the ear. This device goes at the opening of the ear canal and is just one unit. There is nothing that goes 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 won’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. Both styles are typically less conspicuous than BTE hearing aids.
Rather than having ear-molds, open fit units, which are a type of BTE, have a little tube that goes into the ear canal. Having something inside the ear is uncomfortable for some people. If this is the situation, an open fit model, which has a thin tube going into the ear from a BTE, would be the best choice.
Thinking about all of these options, you need to determine which style and options will fit your needs the most. Bluetooth functionality, for example, is a feature you would want if you talk on your phone or a computer frequently. If you listen to seminars and lectures, telecoil is an ideal option and you won’t have to keep shelling out money for new batteries if you get a hearing aid with a rechargeable one.
Lastly, Your Buying Options Should be Taken Into Consideration
Most qualified retailers will offer custom fitting and a free trial period. That’s where you want to go to purchase your hearing aids. It’s difficult to be confident that you are making the right choice if you don’t have a chance to try your hearing aids before you purchase them.
You also want to look closely at the warranty which comes with the hearing aids. What does it cover? Some will only pay for replacement parts, some cover the labor, also, and what about a new hearing aid if can’t be fixed?
Before purchasing hearing aids schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional for a checkup and hearing test, too. Not all changes to your hearing call for purchasing hearing aids.