If you think you may need hearing aids, you’re not alone. In fact, 20% of Americans have some degree of hearing loss.
When it comes to the effects of aging on the body, it’s obvious hearing loss is completely normal.
Tons of people are fitted with hearing aids every year!
But now you’re wondering: How do I find the BEST hearing aids?
We’ve got you covered. Here is what you need to know about finding the best hearing aids.
Common Types of Hearing Aids
The options can be overwhelming if you’ve ever looked at the wide selection of hearing aids available on the market.
Here is a breakdown of the main types there are out there so you can make a more informed decision.
Behind the Ear (BTE)
These are the largest of the hearing aids. This means they can be more obvious than their subtle counterparts.
However, behind the ear hearing aids often have more power than some of the smaller hearing aids out there. They’re also less likely to get wax or moisture damage because of the way they’re structured.
A plastic component will sit behind the ear. A tube will then connect it to an ear mold that sits inside the ear.
In the Ear (ITE)
These are custom designed. They’re made to fit perfectly into your ear and its unique shape.
Because they’re still fairly large, they have decent power. You can also control the volume.
In the Canal (ITC)
These are similar to ITE hearing aids. However, they’re distinctly smaller and only fit in about half the ear.
Because of their size, you’ll need to have more dexterity to adjust them and take them in and out. They also offer fewer manual controls than ITEs.
Completely in the Canal (CIC)
The look of hearing aids makes some people uncomfortable. CICs eliminate this because they’re the smallest of the hearing aids.
They fit completely within the canal making them an aesthetic solution for people conscientious of a hearing aids appearance.
Because of this, they’re more likely to get damaged because of earwax or moisture.
The Receiver in the Canal (RIC)
These are gaining popularity. The components of the hearing aid mostly sit in a tiny box behind the ear.
A thin wire connects the tiny box to a speaker located inside the canal. This makes these hearing aids both subtle and practical.
The speaker in the ear is small which gets rid of the plugged up sensation some hearing aid users experience.
Low Profile Hearing Aids
These range from half-shell (HS) designs that fill about half the ear to the full bowl of the ear.
They’re easier to handle than smaller sizes making them great for people with dexterity issues. They are a size that can accommodate:
- Directional microphones
- Controls to adjust the volume
- Programming buttons
Hearing Aid Technology
The technology for hearing aids develops every year as main manufacturers release new products.
Most companies group their product styles and technologies together. It’s similar to the structure a car company would use to catalog their makes and models.
Almost all hearing aids currently on the market require fitting with a professional.
The reason it’s now done this way is simple. It allows for the expert to meet patient’s needs by programming the frequency the way the person needs it.
The current way hearing aid systems are designed means they operate as one complete system. This mimics the way our brains hear sound in both ears simultaneously, creating a more natural experience.
Many of the best hearing aids on the market also boast wireless technology. This allows the user to:
- Connect with external devices, such as an MP3 player or TV
- Use Bluetooth to stream sounds
- Customize their experience more than ever before
The Best Hearing Aids For You
There are three key factors to consider when you pick hearing aids:
- Type of hearing loss
- Listening needs
You’ll decide the best hearing aids to fit these three things for you with your audiologist.
There isn’t one hearing aid that fits all needs. This means you’ll need to consider everything based on you personally.
Find an expert you’re comfortable with to help you with the process and make necessary recommendations.
Hearing Aid Fitting
Your audiologist will recommend a type of hearing aid. Then, you’ll both consider several things during your fitting and when choosing a specific device.
The things to be considered are:
- Your budget
- Comfort with technology
- Physical abilities
- Job demands
The technology of hearing aids is super customizable and personalized. Because of this, some people with the same level of hearing loss will end up with entirely different devices.
This can make reading reviews or comparison of types of hearing aids redundant. Your time will be better spent talking to your healthcare provider about what will meet your needs.
You’ll address your unique needs during this conversation. This will ensure you get recommendations suited to you right away instead of creating notions about what you want.
It’s also important to note there’s an adjustment period when it comes to wearing new hearing aids. You will need to adjust when you first get them or when switching devices.
Here is what a hearing aid fitting will look like when you visit a professional:
Assessing the Hearing Aids Fit
First, you and the hearing expert will take a look at how well the device fits the ear. It needs to properly fit in the ear and be comfortable for the user.
Programming the Settings of the Hearing Aid
The hearing aid will require setting up as it is a piece of technology with several types of programming. It will be programmed by a computer to adjust it for your level of hearing loss and lifestyle on a computer.
This is to ensure that the programming done by the audiologist is correct.
This final test is often called a real-ear test or probe measure test. What you can expect during this test is:
- A small microphone tube will be put in your ear along with the hearing aid
- Varying tones of speech will be played
- You will be asked to respond to these various tones
- Your audiologist will assess how well the hearing aids are programmed based on your response
Hearing Aid Education
Your audiologist will give you the necessary knowledge to maintain, adjust, use, and care for your hearing aids.
You will learn how to:
- Insert the hearing aid
- Turn the hearing aids on and off
- Use or adjust any special features
- Clean and repair your hearing aids
- Check and replace the batteries
Ultimately, you will learn exactly how your hearing aids work. Make sure to ask any question you have during this time if something is unclear.
It’s also a good idea to ask your audiologist what to do if you’re unsure of how to use a feature on your hearing aids.
You will then schedule a follow-up appointment with your audiologist. This follow-up appointment will be used to make sure everything is working properly with your hearing aids.
It’s also a great time to address any concerns you have, such as the fit or how to use them.
You’ll also get a schedule for when to wear your new hearing aids. This is to ensure they continue to work for you, always.
Even after your fitting is over.
Cost of Hearing Aids
These are tiny computers being put inside of your ear. It’s important to note that this is sophisticated technology.
This factors into the pricing of the hearing aids.
The general range of pricing is between $1,000 and $4,000 per ear. The best hearing aids with the most modern technology are on the more expensive end.
Insurance and healthcare don’t cover most hearing aids. However, many companies that sell hearing aids offer payment plans.
You can also find websites that offer great pricing by eliminating the middleman.
You can find hearing aids at a reasonable price when you shop wholesale. Learn more about it here.
Other options include third-party financing or looking into your state’s Vocational Rehabilitation program.
And if you think hearing aids are expensive, remember: Hearing aids are an investment. They are a choice to improve your quality of life.
There are several clinically proven benefits of wearing hearing aids, including:
- Increased earning power — You’re more capable of great job performance when your ears are fully functioning
- Better living — Hearing aid wearers report a better quality of life than those who suffer from hearing loss and choose not to wear them
- Reduced suffering from Tinnitus — Nothing is more annoying than a high pitched ringing in your ears, and those who wear hearing aids report greatly reduced levels of ringing
If you’re looking to find the best hearing aids on the market, you’re definitely not alone.
Many people in America need hearing aids. In fact, 37.5 million Americans over the age of 18 have trouble hearing.
Now that you’re prepared with everything you need to find yours, check out some other great health tips here!