10 Things to Look for When Buying Hearing Aids
Based on the results of your hearing test, you’ve decided to get hearing aids. But where do you begin? What are you supposed to be looking for when purchasing hearing aids?
Before you start your search for the right hearing aids, you will have to consider a few things before you make the purchase. As hearing aids come in various sizes and brands, you will want one that fits your needs and adapts to your lifestyle.
At Living Sounds, we are a team of Board Certified hearing care professionals who specialize in hearing aids in Edmonton, Alberta. We’re here to go through the different features and explain how each detail in a hearing aid will affect your hearing.
Here are 10 important things you need to look for when buying hearing aids:
1. Check for in-store demos or a trial period
Since there are different hearing aid brands on the market, it’s important to approach your search as a smart consumer and try out a few brands before committing. First, ask for an in-store demonstration to see how the different features work and how to adjust them.
It’s a great option if the hearing aid provider offers a no-commitment trial period. Within this trial period, you can see if the hearing aid fits into your lifestyle and allows you to get used to its features.
It’s comforting to know that if by any chance, you don’t like it or would like to try something different, you can return it during the trial period without paying any penalties.
2. Hearing aid styles
Choosing the style of hearing aid is the first challenge you’ll face, as they come in various shapes and styles.
The Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) hearing aid is the most popular style. It goes behind the ear and has a speaker in the ear canal. Some RIC hearing aids transmit the sound to the ear with a small tube. The style with a small tube is called Behind-The-Ear (BTE).
If you decide to get one custom made to fit in your ear, they have Invisible-In-Canal (IIC), Completely-In-Canal (CIC), and In-The-Ear (ITE). Choosing between IIC, CIC, and ITE hearing aids is based on personal preferences, which include: severity of hearing loss, anonymity, dexterity, and lifestyle.
3. Directional microphones
Hearing aids are made with directional microphones. This feature gives hearing aids the ability to pick up specific sounds around you, such as a conversation with the person in front of you.
However, depending on your hearing needs, you can choose different types of directions to focus on where the sound is coming from.
The main types of directional microphones to choose from are adaptive, fixed, and dynamic.
Adaptive microphones identify sounds from people talking around you and targets where the speech is coming from.
These are able to target a specific area and focus on one subject. Fixed microphones are ideal for face-to-face conversations.
Dynamic microphones can simultaneously listen to the sounds around you and target a specific area of focus.
4. Minimal background noise
When looking for a suitable hearing aid, the microprocessor is an important feature. The microprocessor has the ability to differentiate low-frequency sounds, such as background noise, with high-frequency sounds like voices and speech.
Once the microprocessor identifies the high-frequency sound, such as a person’s voice, it will intensify the person’s voice while concealing the background noise.
When choosing a hearing aid, you have to consider when you’ll be talking on the telephone. Telecoils get rid of background noise in your environment while you’re on the phone, as it helps pick up the voice from the phone call.
Telecoils also have a secondary purpose in public theatres, arenas, and churches, providing signals from induction loop systems that will allow you to hear the speaker better.
6. Wireless connection
For those with smartphones or iPhones, there are hearing aids that have built-in wireless connection and are compatible with smartphones and other mobile devices. This is a cool feature that will allow you to stream music, podcasts, and telephone calls directly to your hearing aid for quality reception.
It also works the other way around. You can connect your hearing aid to your smartphone via Wi-Fi and turn your smartphone into your hearing aid remote control, allowing you to adjust the volume and other settings.
7. Rechargeable batteries
If you want a hearing aid that is easy to maintain, choose one that has rechargeable batteries. This feature allows you to recharge the hearing aid batteries without having to change them on a regular basis.
8. Remote controls
Instead of manually adjusting the volume on your hearing aid, a great add-on is a remote control. With a remote control, you can adjust the volume and other features without touching the hearing aid.
Feedback is that loud squealing sound that occurs when a microphone is placed too close to a speaker. Nowadays, hearing aids have feedback control; some are better than others. Choosing a hearing aid with good feedback control will prevent any feedback from entering your hearing aid resulting in more comfortable wear.
10. Review your contract
Purchasing a hearing aid is a big investment, so it’s good to have a 30 to 60 day trial period to make up your mind. If you decide after the trial period that the hearing aid suits your needs, be sure to review the hearing aid contract before committing.
The contract should include stipulations that address refunds, a warranty, maintenance options, and follow up consultations. Once you make your hearing aid purchase, always get a copy of the contract and refer to it if you ever have issues with the hearing aid.
As you can see, there are many features to consider if you are looking to buy the best hearing aid to fit your needs. Always shop around for hearing aids and compare features and prices. This enables you to select the right one for you based on your lifestyle and budget.