Value Hearing: Which Hearing Aid is the Best for You?
Choosing a hearing aid is an incredibly important decision. The right hearing aid will dramatically improve your quality of life. The wrong hearing aid means you may still struggle with sounds. This means you must give careful consideration to a range of factors when making your choice.
Factors to consider:
Degree of hearing loss
Hearing loss can be mild, moderate, moderate-severe, severe or profound. Different hearing aids may be designed for a particular degree of hearing loss. For example, the Nexus HD App-Controlled Hearing Aid is recommended if your hearing loss is moderate to moderately severe. On the other hand, the Heariq 4 App-Controlled Hearing Aid is best suited for hearing loss that is mild to moderate. This is clearly going to affect your choice.
Your day-to-day life is going to have a big impact on the type of hearing aid you use. Some people will not see a great deal of variation between one environment and another in terms of noise level. Others will need a hearing aid that can adjust to particularly loud surroundings, such as those regularly attending live musical performances.
It may sound a little shallow, but most people want their hearing aids to be as unobtrusive as possible. Hearing aid technology is getting smaller all the time, but sometimes having a smaller hearing aid can mean sacrificing power, making the device less effective. Factors such as whether the hearing aid sits completely within the ear canal or wraps behind the ear also affect appearance. You can find some hearing aids in different colors, which allows you to add a little more of your own personality.
Ease of use
Smaller hearing aids may be less obtrusive, but they can also be awkward to use. The further into the ear canal the hearing aid goes, the trickier it is to adjust, with the very smallest models requiring professional assistance to fit. Also think about things like rechargeable or replaceable batteries, or modern digital features like apps.
Unfortunately, sometimes price is going to be a significant factor in your choice of hearing aid. Better-quality hearing aids have become more available in recent years, and this has led to them becoming more affordable, but the most modern and high-tech versions are always going to be the most expensive. Sometimes you have to strike a balance between quality and price. You also need to think about more long-term costs, such as maintenance and replacing batteries, or whether or not the fitting will require professional assistance.
Types of hearing aids
With these factors in mind, you need to consider the different kinds of hearing aids available and which will be most suitable for your hearing loss and circumstances. Hearing aids that fit further inside the ear may be more susceptible to being blocked by earwax, but aids outside the ear can be disrupted by wind noise. You may want to consult with an audiologist before making this decision.
BTE hearing aids are some of the largest and most traditional and remain one of the most common choices. They are powerful and easy to use, in addition to being suitable for most kinds of hearing loss. One part sits behind your ear, then the mold sits in your ear canal. A tube connects the two parts.
Slightly smaller than BTE hearing aids, RICs do have a similar design but they use a wire rather than a tube to attach the two parts together. Other than this, their advantages are similar to BTEs.
In the ear (ITE) and In the canal (ITC)
Both ITE and ITC hearing aids sit just inside your ear and are custom-made. ITCs are slightly smaller and often less powerful, meaning they may not be suitable for more severe hearing loss. ITEs and ITCs are both less obtrusive than BTEs or RTCs, but they can be trickier to adjust.
Completely in the canal (CIC)
These are the smallest type of hearing aid, and they're molded to fit in your ear canal so they are almost impossible to see from outside. They are generally only suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss because they have less power. They may need professional assistance to fit and even the batteries can be more difficult to use because of their size.
These are just some of the types of hearing aids available and the factors to consider when choosing between them. Every ear, lifestyle and experience of hearing loss is different, so ensure you assess all of your options before making a decision.