Hearing Aids: How to Choose the Right One?

  • Reading Time: 7 Min

  • Category: Medical Devices

  • Approved by: Dr. Shokrzadeh

Hearing Aids: How to Choose the Right One?

  • Reading Time: 7 Min

  • Category: Medical Devices

  • Approved by: Dr. Shokrzadeh

Since we rely on our hearing sense with a lot of our everyday tasks, hearing loss can have a great effect on the way we live. Hearing loss can affect every part of our life from our work to our emotional life.

One of the ways you can deal with hearing loss is using hearing aids, and you might have already thought about getting one yourself if you suffer from hearing loss. If so, you could be wondering about the types available and if they can help you. In this article, we will guide you to know more about hearing aids.

an old man using hearing aids

A hearing aid is a device designed to improve hearing by making sound audible to a person with hearing loss.

Key Facts:

  • Hearing aids does not restore your old hearing but they only improve your hearing.
  • You need to choose your hearing aid based on your condition and your own preferences.
  • All hearing aids work using the same principle.
  • There are new hearing aids models with extra features but they may cost you extra expenses.
  • The life span of the hearing aids is 5 to 6 years.

What is a hearing aid?

Hearing aids are electronic devices that you wear to help you improve your hearing. A hearing aid consists of a microphone, an amplifier, a processor, and a speaker. They all work together to pick up the sounds and send them to your ears so you can hear better.

a girl using hearing aids to to improve her hearing

A hearing aid is a battery-powered electronic device designed to improve your hearing.

How can hearing aids help?

The first thing you need to keep in mind is that hearing aids can improve hearing and not restore it. If you are suffering from mild to moderate hearing loss or sensorineural hearing loss, then hearing aids can help you enhance your hearing.

Almost all of them works with the same principle. The microphone will detect the sound from your surroundings while a processor will convert the sounds into electrical signals and amplify them with the amplifier. The speaker will finally receive the signals and convert them back into sound.

an infograghy describing how hearing aids work

How do hearing aids work?

How should I put on my hearing aid?

There are three easy steps to follow in order to put on hearing aids:

  1. Place the hearing aid behind the ear, so that the earwire rests comfortably on the ear, close to your head.
  2. Insert the ear-tip into the ear canal while holding the lower part of the earwire.
  3. Run your finger along the wire to confirm that the hearing aid fits properly.

How can I find out if I need a hearing aid?

If you are not sure whether you need a hearing aid or not, then you should start looking for the common signs of hearing loss. In general, if you experience any or some of the following situations, you might consider having a hearing aid:

  • You tend to feel that people are mumbling
  • You need to ask people to repeat what they have said very often
  • You feel the need to raise the volume when you listen to the radio and the TV
  • You cannot understand the dialogues when you watch movies
  • You cannot understand what people are saying when you don’t see their faces
  • You find it hard to understand when you talk on the phone
a woman who can't hear properly and needs to use hearing aids

How can I find out if I need a hearing aid?

Are there different styles of hearing aids?

Hearing aids are different from each-others. There are several types, shapes, sizes, and styles of hearing aids. You can find:

  1. In the ear hearing aids
  2. Invisible in the canal hearing aids
  3. Completely in the canal hearing aids
  4. Behind the ear hearing aids

Of course, it is not limited to just 4 types of hearing aids as each one comes in several designs and types. Every one of the mentioned above hearing aids have their pros and cons, and you have to choose the right one for you based on your condition and preferences.

Styles and Types of hearing aids

Behind the ear hearing aids

Behind the ear hearing aids consist of two parts; the device which is located behind the ear, and an extended part that goes inside the ear. There are 2 main types of behind the ear hearing aids:

1.      Receiver in the ear (RITE) hearing aids

It is also known as receiver in the canal (RIC) hearing aids. In this type, the receiver is located inside the ear whilst the rest of the device is behind the ear.

RITE hearing aids pros:

  • It can come with rechargeable batteries.
  • It can usually be connected to phones.
  • You can replace the receiver if it is damaged or if you needed a more powerful one.
  • It is comfortable.

RITE hearing aids cons:

  • Moisture and earwax can damage the speaker.
  • It is noticeable if the hair is short.
  • It can cause a wax build-up.

2.      Behind the ear with earmold

There are a lot of styles and types of behind the ear with earmold hearing aids. It is almost similar to RITE hearing aids. The difference is that the receiver is not in the ear.

Behind the ear hearing aid with earmold is one of the oldest types of hearing aids and has many advantages, such as:

  • It can be used to improve severe hearing losses.
  • It has large batteries so it has a long battery life.
  • It is large, making it harder to be lost.
  • It can come with more connection options.

There are some disadvantages as well:

  • It more visible.
  • It can fall if you have an active lifestyle.
  • Moisture can damage the mold.
  • The earmold can give a feeling of plugging up.

In the ear hearing aids

This type of hearing aids is fixed in the outer ear with a small part within the canal. All of the parts of the in the ear (ITE) hearing aids are inside the ear. This hearing aid type is used to improve hearing for patients with mild to severe hearing loss.

ITE hearing aids advantages:

  • They fit the ear well, providing good sound quality.
  • They are not visible.

ITE hearing aids disadvantages:

  • They can be damaged with earwax and moisture.
  • They cannot help with high frequencies hearing loss.
  • They are not to be used for children.

Completely in the canal hearing aids

Completely in the canal (CIC) hearing aids are small and meant to be hidden inside your ear canal. They are used to help patients who suffer from mild to moderate hearing loss.

CIC hearing aids pros:

  • They are invisible inside the ear.
  • They need less energy.
  • They do not amplify wind sound.

CIC hearing aids cons:

  • They have smaller batteries.
  • The mic can be blocked by earwax.
  • You cannot control the sound manually.
different types and styles of hearing aids

Different types of hearing aids

What questions should I ask before buying a hearing aid?

When you are buying a hearing aid, you are not just buying a product but you are investing your time and money in a product. Hearing aids have a lifespan of 5 to 6 years with good care of course.

So, before you buy a hearing aid you should ask yourself a few questions to make sure you have made the right choice.

First, you need to know what follow-up care you would get after you get the hearing aid. Some hearing aids come with follow-up care and it can be necessary to reduce your maintenance cost in the future.

Warranties too are important, so you should pay attention to what things are covered in your warranty. Even with the advancement of the technologies of manufacturing hearing aids, it is reasonable to expect that you need to repair the hearing aid at some point.

Getting used to your hearing aid

Getting used to your hearing aids can be difficult for some patients. The feeling of the hearing aid in your ear and the changes in hearing can feel strange. To help yourself getting used to or adjust to your hearing aid you can:

  1. Start by wearing the hearing aid for a few hours a day and raise the duration gradually.
  2. Start wearing the hearing aid in quiet places.
  3. Start practicing talking to people in groups with your best friends and family.
  4. Ask your family to set the TV volume to normal volume.
  5. Try watching TV and movies with subtitles to help your brain connecting the sounds with words.
  6. Try playing the audiobook while you read the book.
  7. Try reading aloud even if you are alone.

Choosing the best hearing aid for you

Most of the patients who need hearing aids start asking: which hearing aid will work best for me? The answer is always different depending on the person asking. Choosing the hearing aid depends on the severity of the hearing loss, your lifestyle, and your preferences of course.

For example, if you have an active lifestyle, you need to choose a hearing aid that does not fall from your ear easily. You should also take hearing aid batteries, hearing aids brand and hearing aid insurance into your consideration. Keep in mind that you should consult your hearing aid specialist as he/she can help you make better decisions.

a customer trying to choose the best hearing aids

How should we choose the best hearing aid?

Taking care of hearing aid

One of the important questions you need to ask when you buy a hearing aid is “how can I take care for my hearing aid?” Taking good care of the hearing aid is the key to prevent any damage. If you want to keep your hearing aid in the best shape, you should stick to the following:

  • Store the hearing aid in a dry place away from the moisture.
  • Do not keep the batteries for a long time, as this can cause damage to the device.
  • Clean the device from any earwax after removing it from your ear.
  • Keep the hearing aids turned off when you do not need them.
  • Change the wax filters of the hearing aid.
  • Make sure your hands are clean before you touch the hearing aid.
cleaning and taking care of hearing aids

How should we clean and take care of hearing aids?

Additional available features in hearing aids

Some of the advanced hearing aids now come with few extra features. The new features can help you have a better experience with the hearing aid. Some of the features include:

  • Wind noise reduction: Wind noise can be annoying to most of the patients and can make it hard for them to understand speech. Some of the new hearing aids recognize wind sounds and eliminate them.
  • Rechargeable batteries: The ability to use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones can make using hearing aids much easier.
  • Connectivity to Bluetooth and wireless: Some of the hearing aids include this feature so you can connect to the sound source like the phone to stream sound directly through the hearing aid and have a better experience.
  • Directional mic: It can help you avoid distraction as it makes the sounds that come from your front clearer than the sounds from your surroundings.

The cost of hearing aids

In general, hearing aids cost ranges from $1,000 to $4,000. The cost depends on many factors such as the available features, brand, and the type of hearing aid. It might sound very expensive, but if you divide the price by the hearing aid’s lifespan then the cost will be only $0.5 to $2 a day.

Hearing aid alternatives

If you do not want to spend a lot of money on hearing aids but still want something to improve your hearing, there are some alternatives available. There are different alternatives to hearing aids, some of them is are smartphone apps and others are electronic devices.

Just keep in mind that these alternatives are not always approved by medical experts, so they might not be as reliable as hearing aids.

alternative devices to hearing aids

Alternative devices to hearing aids

Which hearing aid will work best for me?

As said before, the best hearing aid is selected based on many factors like the type of hearing loss and your lifestyle. Generally, you can follow these rules to decide on the best hearing aid for you:

  1. If you have severe hearing loss and you need more additional features, the best choice for you might be behind the ear hearing aids.
  2. If you need more features and you want more discreet hearing aid, you may choose in the ear hearing aids.
  3. If you have mild or moderate hearing loss and want to have a smaller hearing aid without many features, choose in the canal hearing aid.
a doctor helping an old man put on hearing aids

The best hearing aid is selected based on many factors like the type of hearing loss and your lifestyle.

The bottom line

Hearing aids can improve your life quality by enhancing your hearing. If you feel that you have hearing loss, do not hesitate to consult a doctor and ask if he/she thinks you need hearing aid. You can call AriaMedTour if you need any further information about hearing aids or if you need any ENT consultation. Our specialists are ready to answer you.

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