When it comes to selecting the perfect hearing aid for yourself, having too many options can be as difficult as choosing from very limited options. And with scores of companies pitching the “perfect choice”, it is but natural to feel confused when scanning the hearing aids market. The best guide to help you determine what’s right for you is an in-person evaluation and consultation with your audiologist. However, walking in for these appointments with some knowledge about “how to make the right choice” can be quite helpful.
We all know that hearing aids today are no longer what they used to be in our grandparents’ generation. The digital revolution in the 1980s and 90s has witnessed a massive leap in the hearing aid technology. And, with the continued advancement over the years, this has only meant better features and improvised models.
The single most important thing to look for when going through your options is the effectiveness of the hearing aid for the precise level of your hearing. It is while determining this aspect of a hearing aid that the guidance from your doctor will come in handy. They arrive at such conclusions after careful evaluation of the type and level of your hearing loss. This is significant because some hearing aids may not provide the desired sound amplification required for the degree of hearing loss that you may be suffering from.
The next aspect that you must consider is your level of comfort with the model that you select. This could be tricky as irrespective of the make or type (like in-the-canal or over-the-ear models) as the first few days are equally strange with any hearing aid. Fortunately, it is mandatory in many states for the hearing aid companies to have a money back guarantee policy. Utilize this window to try the hearing aid for a few days before confirming that model. However, you should remember that these ‘aides’ usually take a week to 10 days to feel ‘normal.’ Gradually increasing the duration for which it is worn each day goes a long way in easing the whole process.
While it is only human to be attracted to the aesthetic designs of the products, it is best to not let it become a major determinant while perusing any hearing aids. Simply put, let aesthetics be the last thing you consider before you say yes to a device. Even the bulkiest of models made today are quite small compared to their predecessors. Moreover, your apprehension about sporting an unwanted look should not make you forget how you can come across to other people when you give irrelevant answers to even their most explicitly uttered words. This is not to say that the “invisible” ear canal type of hearing aids do not make for good options. However, putting comfort and effectiveness above all else is definitely a wiser thing to do. What’s the use of an inconspicuous hearing aid that doesn’t achieve its primary goal of making your hearing better, after all? Makes sense?
After your hearing evaluation is complete and the need for a hearing aid is established, you will have to decide if you want a standard or a custom-made hearing aid. As the name suggests, a “custom” hearing aid is manufactured especially for you. It entails the use of molds to produce a device that fits snugly in your ear canal. The “standard” type of hearing aid, on the other hand, doesn’t require custom-fit earpieces. They can be easily fit “as-they-are” which allows you to try the various options before deciding which one goes home with you.
Both standard and custom hearing aids comprise custom “fitting” or programming that ensures that your device is attuned to your precise level of hearing. Thus, the difference between these two variants is merely the customization of fit only. All the hearing aids that are placed in our ear canals are custom and they are typically more costly than the standard ones. Although a standard hearing aid is invariably a behind-the-ear type, options such as receiver-in-the-canal are also available.
Choosing the right hearing aid can be a daunting task. It is important for you to remember that you have the option of trying them before you make your final decision. So, do not hesitate to ask the vendors about the warranty and the return policy of the hearing aid that you are considering.