How to Compare Hearing Aids

When you start to have trouble hearing the things that people say to you, it may be time to consider a hearing aid. These small electronic devices help to amplify the sounds around you so that you can live a more normal life. Before you buy, however, be sure to compare hearing aids to make sure that you choose one that fits your needs and lifestyle. Consider the following things when you make your choice.


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    Look at the different styles of hearing aids. There are 4 main styles of hearing aids. The one that will work best for you depends on personal preference, mainly comfort, ease of use and whether you care if people can see it or not. Choose from the following:
    • Behind-the-ear (BTE). These are perhaps the most traditional form of hearing aid. The main apparatus fits behind the ear and has a tube that directs sound into the ear.
    • Open ear hearing aids. This style of hearing aid is similar to the BTE version, in that it sits behind the ear, yet it is much smaller, so it is not quite so noticeable.
    • In-the-ear (ITE). This model is custom-designed to fit within the visible part of your ear. It is lightweight and comfortable.
    • In-the-canal (ITC). The ITC is the smallest and least noticeable of all the hearing aids. It will be made to fit directly into your ear canal.
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    Consider the electronics associated with your hearing aid. Hearing aids can be either analog or digital. Both types of hearing aids will amplify sound, but the digital style converts sound to data, amplifies it, then converts back to analog. The analog style simply amplifies sound. Digital hearing aids are more precise and more popular. In fact, many companies are stopping production of analog models to focus on the digital brands. If possible, you should choose a digital model.
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    Compare the features of different hearing aids. Beyond style, there are a number of features that a hearing aid may have. Be sure to talk to an audiologist about which ones are necessary for your unique situation. Some examples of hearing aid features are:
    • Multiple programs, or memories, which allows the user to program several different settings for the hearing aid. For example, users will need different settings for a crowded party and a quiet night at home.
    • Noise reduction, which reduces the amount of background noise so that the user can focus on the person talking.
    • Directional microphones, which help to differentiate background noise from speech.
    • Feedback cancellation, which eliminates whistling or screeching sounds.
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    Ask about what's included in the price. While the cost of a hearing aid will undoubtedly play a role in your decision, it's important to understand what the price a company quotes you includes. Most importantly, make sure that the price includes creating a mold that fits in your ear precisely, as well as the cost of making adjustments should you find the hearing aid uncomfortable.


  • Do not purchase a hearing aid from a door-to-door salesperson or through an infomercial. If you think that you may need a hearing aid, talk to your doctor and get a complete test.

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Categories: Medication and Medical Equipment