Tips for Choosing a Hearing Aid
If you are older than 45, chances are 1 in 5 that you suffer from hearing loss to some degree. That chance increases steadily as you age. Approximately 1 in 3 people ages 65 to 74 report some difficulty hearing and that number rises to 1 in 2 by age 75. However, many younger people are also experiencing hearing loss, primarily due to the excessive noise pollution that comes with modern technology and working in certain industrial fields.
Get a Hearing Evaluation
If you are experiencing signs of hearing loss, visit us at Sound Hearing Group for an evaluation as soon as possible. Untreated hearing loss can wreak havoc with your social life, make driving and various everyday activities more dangerous, and is also associated with cognitive decline.
Thinking about Hearing Aids?
If your hearing exam results reveal that you are experiencing hearing loss, your hearing specialist will prescribe hearing aids for treatment. You may have been thinking about looking into hearing aids, and, having had your hearing evaluated, a hearing professional can certainly help you with your options. However, it is good to go into the process with some idea of what is generally available, what to look for, and how to find an ideal solution based upon your own level of hearing loss, personal cosmetic requirements, lifestyle, manual dexterity, vision, and budgetary concerns. We offer a variety of hearing aids in Sun City, Arizona.
Know Before You Go
Some private insurance policies cover part or all of the cost of hearing aids – check your policy to be sure. Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids, but medical assistance might cover the costs in most states. If you’re a veteran, you may be able to get your hearing aid at no cost through the Veterans Administration.
Expectations – Understand How Hearing Aids Work
Most hearing loss stems from damage to the tiny hair cells of the inner ear. These hair cells turn sound vibrations into impulses that nerve cells then carry to the brain. The most common causes of that damage are aging and chronic noise exposure. Other causes can include illness and medication.
Hearing aids cannot restore normal hearing. They can, however, vastly improve your hearing – and overall well-being! Hearing aids work by directing sound into a microphone, where it is analyzed and adjusted based on your hearing loss, listening needs, and the level of the sounds around you. The amplified signals are then converted back into sound waves and delivered to your ears via tiny speakers. Most have features that modify that sound, filter out feedback and some background noise, and correct other ambient noise problems. Even with all possible features, your digital hearing aids will bring you back to hearing, but not completely normal hearing.
Range of Styles and Features
Hearing aids vary greatly in style and size, features and price. Your personal hearing loss and lifestyle may not warrant some of the more advanced features, but many of these features can vastly improve the quality of your sound experience and your ease of use. Prices generally start at around $1,000.00.
Features can include noise reduction, directional microphones, rechargeable batteries, telecoils, wireless interface with your Bluetooth devices, remote controls, direct audio input, variable programming, environmental noise control, moisture protection, and synchronization.
The following are common hearing aid styles, starting with the smallest, least visible in the ear. The makers and designers of hearing aids keep making smaller and smaller devices, in response to consumer demand for more aesthetically pleasing hearing aids. However, not all smaller aids will have the power to meet your needs if your hearing loss is greater. At Sound Hearing Group, we’ll work with you to determine the best options for your specific needs.
Completely in the Canal (CIC) or Mini CIC
A completely-in-the-canal hearing aid is molded to fit inside your ear canal, and is suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss.
· Pros: Low visibility, easy to insert and remove, less sensitive to wind noise.
· Cons: Too small to have a directional microphone, could have “plugged” feel, fewer control features, shorter battery life due to smaller size of battery (which can be more difficult to insert and remove for the same reason).
In the Canal (ITC)
An in-the-canal hearing aid is custom molded and fits partly in the ear canal. This style can improve mild to moderate hearing loss.
· Pros: Barely visible and easy to insert, volume control can build up for ease of use; can include directional microphones and other features that won’t fit on CICs.
· Cons: Is more susceptible to earwax clogging the speaker, plus same issues as with CICs above with regards to small sized battery and handling.
In the Ear (ITE)
An in-the-ear hearing aid is custom made in two styles – one that fills most of the outer ear (full shell), and one that fills only the lower part (half shell). Both are appropriate for people with mild to severe hearing loss.
· Pros: More room for features such as telecoils, directional microphone, and volume control; easy to insert and handle; larger battery for longer battery life.
· Cons: May pick up more wind noise than smaller devices, more visible, vulnerable to wax buildup and moisture.
Behind the Ear (BTE)
A behind-the-ear hearing aid also goes by other acronyms – receiver-in-the-ear (RITE), receiver-in-the-canal (RIC or RITC), and canal receiver technology (CRT). A style called “Open Fit” is another variation, but with a thinner tube. These aids fit over the top of the ear and rest snugly behind the ear. A clear, thin tube connects the hearing aid to a custom earpiece (earmold) that fits in your ear canal. This style is appropriate for people of all ages and almost all levels of hearing loss.
· Pros: Comfortable, barely visible, easy to insert. Capable of more amplification than other styles, compatible with telephones, large enough for additional features, easier controls.
· Cons: Susceptible to wax and moisture, less amplification in lower frequencies, may pick up more wind noise.
- Be sure to ask your hearing aid professional about trial periods, warranties and follow-up support service.
For more advice on hearing aids or to receive a comprehensive exam, contact us at Sound Hearing Group today!