There are many different types of hearing aids, but which one is right for you depends partly on your hearing loss and lifestyle. Your audiologist will guide you in selecting the best hearing aid.
Hearing aids come in a variety of styles, from entirely in-the-canal (CIC) and invisible in the canal (IIC) to behind-the-ear style (BTE). Some hearing aids have directional microphones that help you hear sounds better when they’re coming from a specific direction.
Type of Hearing Loss
There are several types of hearing loss, and each can affect how you hear. It is why it’s essential to understand each type before choosing the right hearing aid for your needs.
Conductive hearing loss occurs when something blocks sound from moving from the outer ear to the eardrum and tiny bones in the middle ear (ossicles). It can be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause, and can be treated with medicine or surgery.
Sensorineural hearing loss, or SNHL, happens when there’s damage to the inner ear or the nerve pathways that send signals from the ears to your brain. Infections, a genetic syndrome, drugs, or aging can cause this.
In infants, this can occur from a congenital disability that prevents sound waves from entering the ear and stimulating the hearing nerve, or it can be caused by an abnormality in the structure of the ear canal or the eardrum. This condition will often improve with medical treatment or surgery, but sometimes hearing aids are necessary.
Another common type of hearing loss is mixed hearing loss, a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. It often occurs after trauma, such as a blast injury or surgery on the ear. It can be challenging to diagnose, but a hearing professional from hearing aids in Sydney can determine the type, degree and cause of your loss to help you choose the best solution for your hearing needs.
Your lifestyle is an essential factor to consider when choosing the right hearing aid for your needs. It includes the places you frequent, your hobbies and other activities that may impact your hearing.
Many hearing aid professionals and manufacturers recommend doing a lifestyle analysis when shopping for a new hearing aid. It helps align your specific hearing loss needs with a hearing aid’s features, making it easier to find one that fits your life.
If you are very active, you may be looking for a durable and moisture-resistant hearing aid that can handle the elements. It is an essential consideration if you are an athlete or enjoy sports like rock climbing or tennis.
If you’re shopping for hearing aids, setting a budget is essential. That way, you can make informed decisions about the features that are most useful to you.
Price is also a key consideration because hearing aids range from hundreds to several thousand dollars. Style and features can also influence the cost, but you should avoid buying a hearing aid solely based on price.
Audiologists carry only a few manufacturers’ products, which may limit your ability to compare costs. Ask your audiologist for suggestions on which brands to consider and which will likely offer the best value.
A good warranty is another crucial factor, as it can help you avoid hefty repair bills later on. Check the length and type of warranty before buying, and find out if you can extend it.
It’s also helpful to have a trial period before purchasing a hearing aid to try it out and decide if it’s right for you. Be sure to get a detailed written contract, including the length of the trial, how much it costs and whether it’s credited toward the final price.
It’s also a good idea to schedule follow-up visits with your specialist so that you can make any needed adjustments. Often, specialists include this in their fees.
Manual dexterity is the ability to carry out small, precise hand and finger movements. If you have poor manual dexterity, it may affect your ability to wear certain types of hearing aids. For example, behind-the-ear (BTE) and in-the-ear (ITE) devices contain small parts that can be difficult to handle if you have poor hand dexterity.
Therefore, your audiologist can recommend different styles of hearing aids depending on your level of manual dexterity. They may suggest a behind-the-ear device that fits behind your ear or an in-the-ear device that fills the bowl of your ear.
Aside from deciding on your hearing aid style, it would help to consider your preferences for battery power and aesthetics. If you have limited manual dexterity, hearing aids powered by rechargeable batteries may be the best choice.
Technology in hearing aids has come a long way. They are now discreet and sleek, with many features that improve your hearing experience.
Bluetooth connectivity lets you stream music and calls from your phone directly to your hearing aid. It has made communication much easier and reduces the need for you to carry your phone with you all the time.
Lastly, some modern devices have auto-sensing technology that automatically changes settings based on your current environment. It means that if you’re in a restaurant that suddenly becomes noisy, your hearing aids will sense the change and adjust without interrupting your conversation.
When choosing the right hearing aid, consider your lifestyle, budget and the features you want. With so many options available, selecting the best one for your needs can be challenging.
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