How to Select the Best Hearing Aids
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Hearing aids are the kind of product that requires specific research. While hearing aids can treat hearing loss and generally improve the quality of life the user experiences, there are multiple types and styles of hearing aids, meaning there is no single device suitable for everyone. As a result, research is crucial as you seek to find the right hearing aid for your specific needs.
When researching hearing aids and considering which may be the best choice for you, there are a number of factors you may want to keep in mind.
1. The style
There are numerous styles of hearing aids, with the following three the most common:
- Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids, which are suitable for mild to profound hearing loss. These devices are among the largest on the market and are more visible when worn, but offer excellent battery life and ease of use.
- Inside-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids, which can be used to treat mild to severe hearing loss. Smaller than BTE hearing aids, ITE devices sit in the outer ear and are particularly well-known for the excellent sound quality they are able to provide.
- In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids, which are predominantly used to treat mild to mildly-severe hearing loss. This style of device sits inside the ear canal and is less visible to onlookers, while still being large enough to offer a range of features.
Everyone has different preferences and priorities regarding styles, so discuss each option with your audiologist to help decide which may be most suitable.
2. The features
In addition to the amplification required to treat hearing loss, modern hearing aids offer a range of features, such as:
- Bluetooth and FM compatibility
- Wind reduction
- Digital noise reduction
- Remote controls
- Tinnitus masking
All of the above features can greatly improve the user experience and allow you to get the most from your hearing aids, so it’s helpful to discuss the range of features available with your audiologist and decide which you want your hearing aid to have.
3. Personal needs and priorities
Each style of hearing aid offers something different to the user, particularly in terms of the benefits that are prioritized. For example:
- BTE hearing aids can be popular with those who are not concerned about how visible hearing aids are. In addition, BTE hearing aids offer good battery life and their large size makes them simple to handle even for those with dexterity concerns.
- However, for individuals who are seeking a more discreet option, ITE hearing aids may be more suitable; these devices are still large enough to use comfortably, but tend to have a shorter (though still very good) battery life than BTE devices.
- Alternatively, if ensuring that your device is discreet is a high priority for use, ITC devices, which are still relatively easy to use, and offer a variety of different features, may be more suitable.
Due to the differences discussed above, there’s never a single “best” hearing aid; everyone is different, so it is always preferable to focus on where your personal priorities lie.
Finding a hearing aid is rarely a quick process; instead, you’ll need to go through all of the options with your audiologist, consider all of the above factors, and then you can be sure to select a device that is the best choice for you.