Hearing Aids: How to Choose the Right One
When you make an appointment with a hearing instrument specialist, you’re enlisting the help of someone who brings real expertise in hearing aids. At Affordable Hearing, we’ve helped countless people choose the right hearing aids to meet their needs. Comprehensive hearing tests, when combined with the knowledge of the hearing aid market and how different features can help fulfill different needs, will all help you along your way. However, it can help to know a little more about the options available, so let’s look at how you can make the choice all the easier.
Know the different styles
There’s a lot of variations in hearing aids. The price, size, how they fit and the different features they come with can differ drastically from one to another. Some devices are better suited for others, and we make it easier to find them by classifying them into different styles. Depending on the level of your hearing loss, a certain style might suit your needs better than another, but most of them are highly varied. Here, we’ll look at the three most common styles and characteristics that tend to apply to them.
Behind the Ear (BTE)
Amongst the largest types of hearing aids available, BTE devices are appropriate for all kinds of hearing loss and for users of all ages. The device hooked over the top of the ear, resting behind it, while a tube connects it to a custom earpiece that fits in the ear canal. This is the least discreet hearing aid available, but because they are larger, they tend to have more accessible manual controls, which may make it a better fit for those with issues affecting their manual dexterity. They are also capable of amplifying noise better than other styles, for the most part.
In the Ear (ITE)
Largely speaking, there are two kinds of ITE devices; full shell devices that fill most of the outer ear and half shell devices that only fill the bottom half. These devices are best suited for those with mild to severe hearing loss and may still have many of the manual controls that BTE devices do, though often have slightly fewer. Like BTE devices, they’re well suited to people with manual dexterity issues thanks to their larger size and have a long battery life since they tend to have a larger battery.
In the Canal (ITC)
As the name suggests, ITC devices are small enough to rest in the opening of the ear canal. This makes them more discreet than other devices, but they often have fewer manual controls as a result. ITC hearing aids are best suited for those wild to moderate hearing loss. While they are slightly harder to handle, making them often an ineffective choice for small children or those with manual dexterity issues, they’re good for those who want a less visible hearing aid.
Know the different features available
Even within the different styles, there’s wide variation when it comes to the different features that each specific device might offer. Here, we’re going to cover and describe a few of them. Your hearing instrument specialist will cover many of these, ensuring that you’re made aware of any features that fit your lifestyle:
- Noise reduction: All hearing aids can reduce different frequencies of noise to make speech and other noises more audible. Some also come with special types of noise reduction like wind reduction.
- Directional microphones: The mics are attached to the device and pointed forward so that you can better hear noises that directly in front of you.
- Telecoils: This feature can help users connect to telecoil loops, such as in telephones or in public spaces with induction loop systems, that allows you to pick up sound directly from the device, rather than from the environment around you.
- Wireless connectivity: More devices are also coming with Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to use your smartphone, smart TV, laptop and other digital devices with your hearing aid. This can be used to have sound from these devices directly fed through the device or to make use of smartphone apps that let you configure your hearing aid.
Don’t forget to enlist the help of a hearing instrument specialist
From choosing the right hearing aid to ensuring that it’s fitted correctly, it’s always wise to partner up with a hearing instrument specialist when you need a new hearing aid. Choosing one of your own is an easy way to end up with a device that doesn’t fully meet your needs and to lack the vital information on using and caring for it. When you’re looking for a new hearing aid, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Affordable Hearing at 803-749-6017 to reach our Irmo office or at 803-531-6403 to reach our Orangeburg and Santee office.