5 Key Considerations When Selecting Hearing Aids

Choosing the right hearing aid can be a difficult decision, particularly if it’s your first time. Perhaps the most important thing to know before you start shopping for hearing aids is that there’s no “right” hearing aid, only “right for you” models. Even then, there’s still a range of designs, feature sets, and brands, all of which can provide you with a positive assistive experience. Here are 5 factors to consider when you start your search.

Understand your hearing loss

When your hearing becomes impaired, it’s never as simple as the “volume” being turned down. You may lose hearing at only some frequencies, in one ear or in both. Your hearing loss never precisely matches that of the person next to you in the waiting room. It follows that your hearing aids are programmed differently, too. While contemporary hearing aids have versatile ranges and capabilities, some are naturally better for you than others. Take time to learn what your hearing requires from an assistive device.

Features vs. bells and whistles

It’s an explosive time for development of digital hearing aids, with incredible capabilities stemming from miniaturization of electronics. It’s important to match features to your needs. For example, Bluetooth® connectivity may be essential to some hearing aid users while for others, it’s just a cost add-on. Review your options and, again, consider your hearing loss. An aid that excels at focusing sound in noisy situations may be valuable to you, while constant noise level adjustment may not. You have a choice in the way you want to hear.

Hearing aid styles

Comfort is key, too, since the best hearing aid in the world does you no good if it’s too uncomfortable to wear. Fortunately, this isn’t often an issue due to the small size and light weight of contemporary aids, but you still have a range of options. In-the-ear (ITE), in-the-canal (ITC), and completely-in-canal (CIC) designs are perhaps the least visible. Some of the smaller formats may not be big enough if you have a demanding hearing loss. Behind-the-ear (BTE) designs are now discreet and capable of offering virtually any available feature. There are even designs that combine BTE and other types.

Lifestyle considerations

Despite all the advances, no hearing aid can give you back your normal hearing. Hearing aids require adjustments and adaptations, but with balance, the hearing that they restore presents an array of benefits such as reversing social isolation. You’ll make allowances to incorporate your hearing aids. The work you do, your social life, hobbies, and physical activity all impact on hearing aid choice. Be sure to think about how your aids interact with each aspect.

Balance your expectations

You may be startled upon first fitting just how loud the world is. Hearing is typically lost over time, so you may never notice things getting quiet and distant. Now, suddenly, it’s back and in your face. It’s normal to expect a transition. It can take a couple of weeks of wearing your hearing aids to get used to your “new normal.” You may feel easily fatigued and tired during this period, effects that some people never connect with their hearing. You’ll adapt, though, and you’ll be grateful for the return of all you’ve been missing.

The hearing experts at Petoskey Ear Nose and Throat Specialists are here to ease your transition back to the world of good hearing. From diagnosis to prescription, they’re your partners in the hearing aid fitting process. Contact the office most convenient to you today, by phone or online.

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