If you’re reading this blog, it’s likely that you’re suffering from some degree of hearing loss, and are exploring your options in regard to hearing aids.
We’ll start by saying that if you’ve previously had reservations about wearing hearing aids due to their old bulky and prominent styles, that’s truly a thing of the past.
Hearing aids today are nothing like they used to be. They’ve been revolutionised with innovative technology and design – offering small, stylish and almost invisible solutions.
Today’s sleek and stylish hearing aids are literally life-changing for those struggling with hearing loss. However, all of the new technology, capabilities and styles bring one challenge – there are so many hearing aids to choose from, where do you start?
In this blog, we’ll talk you through our top tips for choosing the perfect hearing aid for you, and the things that you should consider during that decision making process.
1. Book an appointment with an audiologist
It goes without saying that your journey to hear clearly again starts with a hearing assessment. As every individual’s hearing needs are completely unique, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
It’s important to book a hearing test with a professional, qualified audiologist. Through a physical examination of the ear and several hearing tests, an audiologist will be able to assess your hearing needs and the severity of any hearing loss you may be experiencing.
With an accurate diagnosis, your hearing specialist will be able to make recommendations on which hearing aid will best address your needs and help to improve the quality of your hearing. Read our top tips for preparing for your first hearing test.
However, there are many things that you can put the time into researching beforehand to give you an idea of what style you’re looking for.
2. Think about your style preferences
If you’ve already looked at the hearing aids on offer from different manufacturers, you may have noticed that there is an overwhelming number of options available.
Manufacturers are continually developing new devices which typically come in a range of technology levels. This is something that we’ll discuss in more detail later in the blog, but this is the reason why there are so many to choose from!
However, what we need to think about first is the style of hearing aid, all of which carry their benefits and disadvantages. There are four main types of hearing aid:
Behind the ear (BTE) is the most traditional option, where the main body of the hearing aid sits behind the ear and a connected tube travels over the top of the ear.
BTE hearing aids are a great option for those who don’t mind the visibility of the device. It’s easy to wear and clean, with generally long battery life. However, there may be better options for those who wish to be more discreet and need bigger advancements in technology.
In the ear (ITE) hearing aids are a custom-made mould to fit the space in your outer ear. These hearing aids don’t go into your ear canal.
ITE hearing aids are ideal for those with more severe hearing loss but they are bigger in size and less discreet than other devices.
Receiver in the canal (RIC) hearing aids are affixed to the outer ear, resting behind the ear with a receiver that rests in the canal. This style is similar to BTE, but with a smaller receiver.
Perfect for those looking for a more discreet design, RIC hearing aids are lightweight and comfortable, with the receiver designed to deliver a more amplified yet natural sound.
Completely in the canal & Invisible in the canal (CIIC & IIC) hearing aids are the most discreet options available, with CIIC being slightly more visible and IIC being virtually invisible.
As these styles of hearing aid sit in the ear canal, this reduces the chance of being able to hear more natural sounds, however, users can benefit from reduced wind interference and complete comfort.
Whilst your audiologist will explain in further detail the benefits of each style, it’s a good idea to do your own research beforehand to see which you may be the most comfortable with.
3. Assess your lifestyle
The hearing aid you choose should ultimately address your individual hearing needs and concerns. Different styles of hearing aids have different features that may be beneficial to some people, but not others.
Take some time to think about which situations you find yourself struggling with the most, and which listening environments cause you the most discomfort. Here are some questions to consider:
- Do you have an active lifestyle?
- Do you often find yourself in noisy, crowded situations?
- Do you struggle more with one-on-one conversations or group environments?
- Do you have difficulties listening to the TV or the radio?
Your audiologist will conduct a lifestyle assessment at your appointment, but having a few starting points in mind will help to direct you towards the most appropriate device for you.
4. Consider what technology you need
Hearing aid technology today encompasses a wealth of smart technology and additional features. These can help to boost your listening quality and ability to hear in certain situations, and added connectivity benefits for convenience.
Some of these extra features include:
- Bluetooth connectivity – Some hearing aids can wirelessly connect to Bluetooth-compatible devices such as mobile phones, computers and TVs to offer extended functionalities.
- Rechargeable batteries – This eliminates the need to frequently change the battery and makes it easier to use day-to-day.
- Telecoils – Telecoils can pick up signals from public induction loop systems in venues such as theatres and cinemas to help you hear the show better.
- Remote control – Some hearing aids may come with a remote control to allow for discreet adjustments when needed, without touching the device itself.
- Variable programmes – Some hearing aids are equipped with pre-programmed settings to allow you to easily switch between different listening environments for an enhanced experience.
It’s important to learn about the different features available and make a decision based on the technology you need and don’t need. Naturally, the more technology you wish to include, the more expensive the hearing aids are likely to be.
5. Keep your budget in mind
Hearing aids are an important investment in your health and overall quality of life. Prices can vary substantially between manufacturers and models, so it’s important to weigh up the features and benefits you need with the budget you’re able to afford.
As discussed, there may be features that you don’t necessarily need and others that you can’t compromise on. Keep this in mind when choosing your hearing aid and be honest with your audiologist.
The Hearing Specialist isn’t affiliated with any manufacturer – that means we’re able to offer completely unbiased advice and recommendations on the most suitable option for you. We have access to hundreds of models from leading manufacturers such as Bernafon, Widex and Signia.
We understand that not everyone can afford to purchase straight away, so that’s why offer payment plans to help you get the device that you need in a way that’s affordable for you.
Whether you like a specific colour, shape, design or need the option of rechargeability – we will ensure that you walk away with a hearing solution that is tailored to suit your individual needs, lifestyle and budget.
Free hearing aid trials
Did you know that The Hearing Specialist offers free hearing aid trials?
With our free trial service, you can experience our hearing aids within listening environments you struggle with the most. We’ll be on hand throughout your trial to ensure you experience sound at the highest quality, providing you with the confidence needed to go out and enjoy your life, with hearing concerns put behind you!
Hearing aid not quite right after your free 7-day trial? Not a problem, we’ll fit you with an alternative and see how you get on. We know how important it is to gain relief from hearing loss, so we won’t stop until you find the perfect solution.
The Hearing Specialist is a professional audiology company in South London, with clinics based in Wimbledon, Teddington and Wallington. If you’re concerned about your hearing, book an appointment with us today.