Choosing a hearing aid can be a daunting task.
In Australia, there are around nine major hearing aid brands, each with multiple hearing aid styles and technology levels.
All in all, there are thousands of different combinations of styles and technology features, which can confuse someone researching hearing aids. That’s why it’s always best to consult a hearing professional to help you find the hearing aid that’s right for you.
However, it does pay to know a bit about the hearing aids available to you – and this general guide should help.
The smallest style is a tiny, invisible, in-the-ear hearing aid. The next size up is a small hearing aid that sits behind the ear (receiver in the canal). The largest super power hearing aids for people with more severe hearing loss sits behind the ear.
Each hearing aid style comes in a variety of technology levels. Usually, a manufacturer will have three to five levels per hearing aid style. More advanced hearing aids can better manage difficult listening situations and background noise.
Which factors determine the hearing aid that is the right for you?
1. Level and type of hearing loss
Your level and type of hearing loss is one of the main factors which will determine the hearing aid that is most appropriate for you.
If you suffer from mild to moderate/severe hearing loss, you’ll need either a small invisible hearing aid or the small receiver in the canal hearing aid that sits behind your ear.
If you suffer from severe to profound hearing loss that requires more amplification, it’s likely that you will be fitted with a receiver in the canal device or a large super power hearing aid.
Certain hearing aids will have better outcomes for high-frequency hearing loss compared to someone with more low-frequency loss.
2. Your lifestyle and budget
The more active your lifestyle and the more time you spend in environments such as cafés, restaurants or group conversations (ie: ‘difficult’ listening environments), the higher level of technology you will most likely need.
Many of the features in high-tech hearing aids help you to better understand speech in noisy situations, and have enhanced functionality that allows you to move from noisy or windy situations to quieter environments (and vice versa).
Also, if you want capabilities, such as Bluetooth streaming for your phone and TV, choose carefully because not all technology levels and brands support all features.
The price of the hearing aid is generally tied to the technology level rather than the style.
Therefore, if you lead a more active lifestyle, be prepared to pay more than someone primarily looking for hearing assistance in quieter environments.
So how do you choose?
Given there are similar styles and technology levels from different brands you’ll need to find the best fit within your hearing loss, lifestyle and budget.
Many hearing care professionals will only sell one or two brands and, therefore, it’s important to do your research to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
You should also keep in mind that hearing aids are not bought off the shelf. They need to be programmed to your hearing condition and, as your hearing loss changes, so will the settings on your hearing aids.
A hearing care professional from Hearing Choices will be able to help you choose the right device, program it, and provide ongoing guidance and advice so you can get the most out of your hearing aid and get back to enjoying life.