In the past, hearing aids were a one-type-fits-all technology. Since there was little audiologists could do to customize hearing devices and hearing loss treatments, many people experienced only minor improvements in their hearing.
Modern hearing care is much more in-depth, personalized and effective because there are dozens of hearing aid options and features available.
You’ll have to take several factors into account when choosing the right hearing aid for your needs, traits and lifestyle. Some important elements to consider include:
Frequency and Severity of Your Hearing Loss
This is measured in two ways: the frequency of your hearing loss and its degree in decibels (dB).
- If you are suffering from hearing loss caused by damage to the outer or middle ear (conductive hearing loss), you won’t be able to hear low-frequency sounds. Conversely, if your inner ear is affected (sensorineural hearing loss), you will struggle to hear high-frequency sounds.
- There are seven degrees of decibel loss used when describing the severity of a hearing impairment. Normal hearing is in the range of -10–15 dB, while profound deafness is any impairment exceeding 91 dB.
Available Features and Functions
Different types of hearing aids offer different features that affect overall functionality. Depending on your lifestyle, activity level, relationships, professional needs, hobbies and other considerations, you should opt for a type of hearing aid that will fit seamlessly into your regular routine.
- Everyone is different, so everyone will benefit from different available hearing device features. For example, people who exercise a lot will use different features than students or people who watch a lot of television and movies. Talk to your audiologist about the features offered for each style of hearing aid as well as which accessories are available for the style you select.
- Unfortunately, every type of hearing aid is not right for every person. Depending on the frequency and decibel measurements of your hearing loss, you may be limited to the styles of hearing aids that treat your condition most effectively. Your audiologist will guide you through the process of selecting hearing aids and will explain the values and limitations of the options available.
Cosmetic and Comfort Concerns
Adapting to life with hearing aids is challenging for everyone, and it’s important to consider your cosmetic opinions and comfort concerns when choosing your hearing devices.
- Are you concerned about whether others can tell you’re wearing hearing aids? If so, you’re not alone. Luckily, there are several subtle to invisible hearing styles to treat most severities of hearing loss. Taking your cosmetic needs into consideration is important when selecting the right pair of hearing devices that you will want to wear each day.
- It takes time to get used to the feeling of every type of hearing aid, but most people prefer the feeling of some styles in their ears to others. A feeling of blockage (the “occlusion effect”) is a common comfort concern. Trying different device styles will help you gain a better understanding of which devices feel best for you.
Hearing Device Price and Lifespan
The cost and durability of different hearing aids sometimes varies greatly between styles.
- When you consider the price of a pair of hearing aids, it’s important to look not just at the devices themselves but also at the hearing accessories you hope to use with them. Sometimes it can be more affordable to select a high-end hearing device with useful features over lower-priced models that will require accessories to function effectively in different settings.
- Most hearing aids last 5–7 years, but this range can be extended or shortened depending on the style you choose. Lyric devices, for example, last up to four months without a battery replacement and are simply thrown away once worn out. Along these lines, you should also consider the lifespan and cost of your hearing aids’ batteries when selecting the right style for your needs.