If you are considering the purchase of a hearing aid, you are probably already aware that there are many types of hearing devices on the market today. While having a lot of options is great in many ways, increasing the odds that there is a device available to meet your needs in terms of improved hearing, comfort and appearance, choosing the right hearing aid from among all those options can be a confusing task.
Seeing An Audiologist For An Evaluation Is The First Step
Fortunately, you won’t have to decide among all of those devices on the market, since not all types of hearing aids will be suitable for your particular type of hearing loss, its causes and its severity – which are the main considerations in determining what sort of device will best suit your needs. That means that your first step in choosing the right hearing aid is to see an audiologist for a comprehensive diagnostic hearing evaluation. Based on the results of that evaluation, your audiologist can present you with a list of options that are designed to address your specific hearing issues.
Tips For Choosing Your Best Hearing Aid Option
While those recommendations will narrow the field, chances are you will still have several options from which to choose, and here are some important factors to consider as you evaluate them:
- Your listening environment – Do you spend most of your time at home, or in more public environments, where background noise is more of an issue? Do you spend a lot of time outdoors, where wind sounds may be a concern? Do you spend a lot of time on the phone? While many hearing aids can filter out troublesome background noise while amplifying the sounds you need to hear, not all of them have this capability, and some hearing aid types are less likely to pose problems with wind noise or phone use than others. For these reasons, discussing lifestyle factors with your audiologist is important.
- Ear characteristics – Are you prone to ear infections? Do you commonly have trouble with ear drainage or excessive ear wax? These issues can interfere with the function of certain types of hearing aids, especially smaller devices that fit partially or entirely into the ear canal.
- Personal preferences – Many hearing aids are very inconspicuous, offering better hearing without it being obvious that you’re wearing a device. If the appearance of your device is something you’re concerned about for personal or professional reasons, share those concerns with your audiologist. However, it is important to note that, while those mild to moderate hearing loss may be well served by smaller, less noticeable hearing aids, individuals with severe hearing loss may require a larger device for adequate hearing.
- Compatibility with frequently used electronics – If you frequently use wireless electronic devices, you’ll want to be sure your hearing aid that is compatible with these devices.
- Your dexterity – If you have arthritis or other issues that affect dexterity in your hands, a larger hearing aid may be easier to manage than a smaller device.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list of factors to consider as you choose a hearing aid, it can get you off to a great start. The bottom line is that a lot of details that go into making the best choice, which is why working with a qualified audiologist, who is extensively trained in the nuances of good hearing, is your best means of finding a hearing aid that best suits your needs and your lifestyle.