How to choose the right hearing aid for you
Getting the best hearing aid for your needs is important, as picking the wrong style may mean that you don’t get the best outcome. Below, we have outlined some tips for choosing the best hearing aid for you. To ensure you have the best hearing aid with the right functionality for your requirements, be sure to read the tips below.
How does a hearing aid work?
Before you choose your new hearing aid, it is important to know how a hearing aid works. A hearing aid uses small microphones to collect sound from your environment. Then, a specialised computer chip converts that sound into a digital signal. Using advanced algorithms and processing, the signal is then adjusted to fit your specific hearing loss. Amongst other things, it will adjust the sound level for specific frequencies and lower unnecessary background noise. Finally, the receiver provides the amplified and processed signal directly in your ears.
Choose a hearing aid to match your lifestyle
One of the most important things to do when you choose a hearing aid is to determine the best hearing aid for your lifestyle. For example, do you spend most of your time at home watching television or listening to the radio? Or do you socialise regularly in restaurants and cafes? If so, it is recommended that you choose a hearing aid that matches your specific lifestyle.
In addition to the basic hearing aid for use at home and the advanced hearing aid for socialising, there are also hearing aids that can stream audio directly from a number of devices, including your mobile phone or TV. These hearing aids have additional Bluetooth functionality, enabling you to stream phone calls or TV audio directly into your hearing aids.
Various hearing aid styles
There are also various styles of hearing aids. Below, we have described common types of hearing aid styles, which you may encounter while looking for the perfect hearing aid to match your requirements.
- CIC (Completely in the Canal) or mini-CIC
The CIC hearing aid is designed to fit in the ear canal and can provide benefits for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. It is also the smallest and the least visible type of hearing aid on the market today. In addition to being less visible to the environment, the CIC has some additional benefits to offer. Firstly, the hearing aid is less likely to pick up sounds such as wind, which could prove useful to adults who spend a lot of time outdoors. However, there are some downsides to this style of hearing aid too, as this type generally lacks volume control, directional microphone and has a shorter battery life. The CIC is also susceptible to earwax clogging the speakers and needs to be cleaned/serviced more regularly than other styles of hearing aids.
- ITC (In the Canal)
Another custom hearing aid is the ITC hearing aid (In the Canal). Like the CIC, the ITC is less visible than most types of hearing aids but still more visible than the CIC style. Contrary to the CIC, the ITC does have the room for some of those extra features people are looking for. However, the ITC hearing aid is still prone to blockages caused by earwax.
- ITE (In the Ear)
Adults could also choose the ITE, which comes in two separate styles. The first is a full shell ITE, which fits the bowl-shaped area of the outer ear. Secondly, there is the half shell ITE, which fits the lower part of the ear. Styles come down to preferences though, since both types of hearing aids are used for mild to severe hearing loss. Naturally, the ITE comes with benefits. Firstly, the ITE has extra features such as volume control, but the overall device is easier to handle. ITE hearing aids tend to have a longer battery life too. There is a downside though, because this type of hearing device is usually more visible.
There are many other types of hearing aids you could consider. We mentioned some common types already, but there are many other styles that could prove useful for hearing loss; this includes the BTE (Behind the Ear) and the very popular RIC (Receiver in Canal) or sometimes known as the RITE (Receiver in the Ear) hearing aids.
Many hearing aids can come with additional features, too. So, if you are looking for top functionality, be sure to consider extra features such as noise reduction, directional microphones, rechargeable batteries, telecoils, wireless connectivity, remote controls and more!
Your hearing care professional will discuss the different styles available based on your lifestyle, hearing loss and budget. After a hearing test and consultation, they will be able to recommend a suitable hearing aid style for your specific needs.
With over 1,000 different models and styles available on the Australian market, it can be difficult and confusing for a first-time hearing aid user to determine which is the right device for them without the help of a professional. Hearing Choices works with Audiologists around the country and can provide a free initial phone consultation to answer any questions you have about choosing hearing aids.