Hearing aids can improve your quality of life dramatically, but choosing the right one from among dozens of models takes careful thought and planning. If you plan to buy a hearing aid, use these steps to increase the odds of finding one that is perfect for you.
1) Have your hearing evaluated by a professional.
Hearing specialists can use simple examination techniques and tools to figure out just how significant your hearing loss is and whether you’ll need a solution for both ears. They can note features such as the size of your ear canal, as well. Based on this information, they can narrow down the list of possible hearing aid choices.
2) Note the degree of help you need the hearing aid to provide.
The older or traditional style of hearing aid that fits behind the ear is suitable for just about anyone with hearing difficulty. Even so, these hearing aids have more power than other styles that can sit partially or completely in the ear. For this reason, you might be happier with a behind-the-ear model that has more amplification capability, even though this style is the most visible.
3) Evaluate the technology involved.
Today’s hearing aids can include remote controls, direct audio input, wireless connectivity, telephone adapters (telecoils), and directional microphones. Others are programmable so you can adapt to different listening environments, and some are capable of synchronizing and functioning together with another hearing aid. You do not necessarily need all these bells and whistles, but more advanced hearing aids usually perform more automatic adjustments as they receive sounds, making them better suited for individuals who frequently are in difficult listening environments. As you compare products, think about whether the technology is going to accommodate additional worsening of your hearing that might happen in the future.
4) Analyze your lifestyle and ability to maintain the hearing aid.
Smaller hearing aids are quite inconspicuous and aren’t as sensitive to wind, but they are susceptible to wax build-up and moisture. The controls can be more difficult to manage, and tasks such as cleaning also tend to be harder because of the smaller size. If you aren’t too concerned with appearances and care more about ease of adjustment and maintenance, your best bet is to pick a hearing aid that’s a little bigger.
5) Do a trial.
Even if a hearing aid looks great in its product description, you won’t really know how the device performs for you until you wear it. Arrange to test out the hearing aid you’re considering so you can analyze both comfort and features. You might be able to put the cost of the trial toward the final purchase of the device.
6) Check your wallet.
Typically, the more sophisticated your hearing aid is, the heftier its price tag will be. That said, check to see how much of the cost, if anything, your insurance company will cover. If you have limited or no coverage, consider whether you have enough money saved to pay out of pocket right away and what payment options the seller offers.
You have plenty of choices when it comes to selecting a hearing aid. Taking the time to consider them thoroughly is your key to selecting a good model.