Choosing a Hearing Aid
Diagnosing a hearing loss can be challenging, as many patients are unaware of their condition until another person points out their communication difficulties. Once this important first step has been completed, the next task is choosing a hearing aid.
Many people are surprised to learn there are so many different choices when it comes to hearing aids. Not only are there a wide array of styles available, but you’ll also have to decide which options and accessories are most important for your lifestyle, determine your budget and more. We can help you narrow down your choices by providing some tips that should assist you in the decision-making process.
- Step One: measure your hearing loss. It is important that your audiologist perform a complete hearing evaluation in order to assess the type and degree of your hearing loss, as well as the frequencies most affected. Some hearing aid styles work better with certain types of hearing loss than others; for example, those with a severe loss will not find much improvement with a tiny in-the-canal device, but a behind-the-ear model will greatly enhance their ability to communicate.
- Step Two: consider your lifestyle. Your hearing aid needs will vary depending on your lifestyle. If you like to socialize with friends and spend nights out on the town, you’ll be better off with a device that limits background noise; likewise, if you are a quiet type who prefers intimate gatherings at home, you can probably do away with many extra features.
- Step Three: focus on features. Digital technology has led to a wide variety of options and accessories to help improve the listening experience. However, these features can add up, and not all of them will prove helpful to you. Bluetooth compatibility is great, but if you don’t even own a smartphone, how beneficial will it be to you?
- Step Four: determine your cosmetic preference. Hearing aids provide the most benefit when they are worn every day, so you’ll want to choose a pair that you feel comfortable with. If you do not want to draw attention to your impairment you might consider in-the-ear aids that are virtually invisible to others, but if you are more concerned with being able to easily adjust the volume, you may be better off with a behind-the-ear style.
- Step Five: set a budget. Hearing aids are a major investment. Medicare does not cover hearing aids, but many private insurance companies do. The amount of coverage varies based upon the policy. If your insurance only covers a basic hearing aid, you may need to pay out-of-pocket expenses for advanced technology or specific features. Learning what your insurance company covers and doesn’t cover may help you plan your budget.
Your audiologist is a great resource should you have questions about different types of hearing aids and which ones are best suited to your individual hearing loss.