It can seem like there are endless options when you begin looking at hearing aids. There are multiple manufacturers to choose from, and each manufacturer offers multiple styles, types, and technology levels. The sheer volume of options can feel overwhelming. But, don’t worry! Your audiologist is there to help you choose a hearing aid. There are several main factors that will be considered when choosing a hearing aid. Keep reading to learn how to choose a hearing aid that will be perfect for YOU.
Degree of Hearing Loss
Not all hearing aids are created equal. Patients who have greater degrees of hearing loss will have more limited options when it comes to choosing a hearing aid. A hearing aid that will work great for someone with mild or moderate hearing loss may not have enough power for someone with profound hearing loss.
Arguably, the most important factor to consider is whether the hearing aid will appropriately treat your hearing loss. Your audiologist is an expert on both hearing aids and hearing loss; so this is where their expertise really comes in handy.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are not typically powerful enough to treat patients with more advanced degrees of hearing losses. At this time, its just not possible to get enough power into the small size of an in-the-ear hearing aid. Most patients with severe and profound hearing losses will do best with certain kinds of behind-the-ear hearing losses.
Again, let your audiologist narrow down your choice of hearing aids based on your degree of hearing loss.
Once your audiologist has narrowed down your choices to those that will be appropriate for your hearing loss, the next step is to take your personal preferences into account. Patient preferences are a huge part of choosing a hearing aid!
If appropriate, you can decide whether you prefer the look of an in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid vs. a receiver-in-canal (RIC) vs. a behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid. This is also the time to discuss what features are important to you. Some common features that patients may want include:
- Smartphone Connectivity
- Rechargeable vs. Batteries
- Direct Streaming
The patient’s lifestyle will also play a factor in choosing the right hearing aid. A patient who lives a relatively quiet lifestyle and will mainly use their hearing aids at home or in other quiet locations may do well with a lower-technology hearing aid. On the other hand, a patient with a very active lifestyle who will use their hearing aids in diverse social situations and in environments with significant background noise, may require more technologically advanced hearing aids.
Your audiologist will use your lifestyle and feature preferences to come up with options that meet your needs.
Even “less expensive” hearing aids are still an investment. From Merit Hearing, on the low end, a set of hearing aids costs about $1,000. Depending on brand, top of the line hearing aids cost up to $4,600 for a pair. We offer a wide variety of hearing aids to fit every patient’s budget.
Your audiologist will help you find a set of hearing aids that will contain the features you care about at a price within your budget. We are also happy to help you determine if your health insurance offers any hearing aid benefits.
Your previous experience with hearing aids may also guide your audiologist’s recommendation on a hearing aid. Just as there is an adjustment period the first time you wear hearing aids, there is often an adjustment period if you switch from one manufacturer to another. For example, if you’ve been using a Widex hearing aid for the last ten years, your brain will have become accustomed to how the Widex device processes sounds. If you’ve been satisfied with your Widex experience, your audiologist may recommend staying with a Widex device.
The question of “how to choose a hearing aid” does not have one easy answer. There are a multitude of factors to consider when looking at your hearing aid options. Our most important recommendation is to work with your audiologist — they are an excellent resource, and will be more than happy to help you pick out the right hearing aid for YOU.