Hearing Aid Choices

By: Allan Tan

You have just been diagnosed with hearing loss. But with so many choices of different styles, models and manufacturers of hearing aids, no wonder it is hard to decide.

Although your audiologist will give you advice, it is always better to understand the different types, their features, how they work to increase your knowledge and be able to compare the hearing aids yourself. Because ultimately, the choice should be yours and you will be the one to use it.

One of the first thing you will need to do is to decide whether you want an analogue, semi-digital semi analogue programmable or a fully digital hearing aid. Analogues are the least expensive and the microphone sends out a signal, the signal is amplified and sent to the ear. The digital/analogue programmable hearing aids are a combination of an analogue hearing aid, but have the computer software to customize and program it. This allows the hearing aid to adapt to the environment by manually switching to different listening programs.

Although, the fully digital hearing aids are the most expensive, they have the highest sound quality and clarity; better functions and adjustments to be able to accustom to every noise environment and more channels to detect even more frequencies. This is achieved through digital signal processing.

Most importantly, check if the hearing aid has directional microphones which will help emphasize the sounds that you can hear. Some models have many different programs and settings, ask yourself whether you will benefit from these. Certain designs are automated and is able to adapt automatically to your preferences whereas other designs may require manual manipulation; some are compatible to mobile phones.

To make an informed decision, always ask questions and find out more about the hearing aids, or the company you will be dealing with - be realistic! Finding the best and most suitable model and type of hearing aid, at the best price will be hard. So make sure you check whether they have a money-back guarantee, trial periods, warranties, clauses, any services that can help with payments, how to get your hearing aid serviced or repaired.

In order for you to rate and choose the ideal hearing aid, you will need to consider the severity of your hearing loss, the costs, what aspects of the hearing aid are important to you, whether it will meet your needs and what you want to achieve out of the hearing aid.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to find any up-to-date hearing aid ratings of quality and performance of various brands, without retailers writing them with a vested interest. This is because hearing loss is very individual and one particular model cannot suit everyone's' needs. Also, hearing aids are continually updated with newer and faster technology, and prices are constantly changing due to competition.

The success of any hearing aid will depend on the wearer's knowledge and understanding of their hearing loss and hearing aids; the expertise of the audiologist in choosing the most appropriate hearing aid.

Ear Nose and Throat
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