Choosing the right hearing aid

Once you have your hearing test results and have decided to proceed with amplification, your hearing healthcare professional can take the next steps forward to getting you into those new hearing aids.

You may be wondering what makes one hearing aid superior to another, or why your hearing healthcare professional recommends a particular hearing loss for you and a different one for someone else.

I have put together a list of topics that may be addressed when deciding which hearing aid is right for you.

  • Degree, type, and shape of hearing loss: your hearing healthcare professional will look at your audiogram and let you know what hearing aids you are a good candidate for, or NOT a good candidate for…many people want to wear a hearing aid that is very cosmetically pleasing, but that might not be what is appropriate for their hearing loss.  If that’s the case, why buy one at all?
  • The shape and size of the ear and ear canal: sometimes tiny or curvy ear canals can exclude someone from being a candidate for a particular type of instrument, simply because it is difficult for the manufacturer to build a hearing aid in such a small space!  We look at the shape and size of the ear to determine this, and it is one of the things we look at during the otoscopic exam.
  • The amount of wax and sweat someone produces, and sometimes the texture of their skin as well: Tis true.  Producing a lot of wax can preclude you from being a good candidate for certain types of instruments.  Wax is one of the things that will stop a hearing aid dead in its tracks, s if you know that you’re prone to wax build up, please share that with your hearing healthcare professional.
  • The listening situations and lifestyle of the patient: You will be asked what kinds of activities you currently participate in, and where you have difficulty hearing.  For instance, some people have a lot of trouble at work in meetings, or at the movies, or at religious services, or when the entire family gets together to celebrate a holiday.  Be sure to include these details so that your HHP can help you select the aid that is right for your needs.
  • Communication needs: Again, you will be asked to describe situations where you have difficulty communicating.  Is one on one speech hard to hear?  Or do you have more difficulty when you are in noise?  How often do you ask people to repeat?
  • Safety needs: If you have a more severe or profound hearing loss, your hearing healthcare professional may ask if you can hear sirens, alarms, etc.  We want to make sure that you are safe in your home and on the road.
  • Cost: Most people are concerned about the price of hearing aids, and with times being as tough as they are, cost is an issue for many people.  Please feel free to share this with your HHP so that they can help you select something in your price range.
  • Concerns about vanity/hearing aid showing: Just like most people are concerned with cost, they are also concerned with how the hearing aids look on them.  There are many different options of styles available, so finding a hearing aid that you feel is low profile and doesn’t show much isn’t as hard as it used to be, but you will need to rely on your HHP to help you find one that looks good AND works properly for your hearing loss.

Until next time,

 

Dr. Kristin

Mike