How to Choose Your Hearing Aids

Choosing which hearing aids among the many manufacturers and models can seem overwhelming, but can be quite simple by knowing what questions to ask and educating yourself a little bit.  The following can help you with the process.

The Hearing Aid Experience

Hearing Aid Specialist PortlandBy making the decision to treat your hearing loss, you’re giving yourself the gift of a better quality of life.  When you take the time to learn about the treatment and rehabilitation of your hearing system and the technology you’ll be using, you’ll be equipped to choose the right provider to work with and which hearing aids will be right for you.

Be sure to ask lots of questions before, during and after your hearing test.  You’ll end up with the best hearing provider and hearing aids if you do.  With your input, your hearing professional can improve your hearing with the right hearing aids that suit your hearing loss, your lifestyle and your budget.

What To Expect: Hearing Aid Transition Period

Hearing aids amplify sound.  And although sound is digitally processed for better speech understanding and comfort, initially it will sound different from what you’ve grown used to.

In addition, depending upon how long you’ve waited to treat your hearing loss, your brain is not accustomed to hearing sound at what was once a normal level. Like any part of our body, the brain needs time to adjust and get used to being stimulated with new sounds again.  For some, the experience can be similar to moving to a different climate.  It will take a few months to acclimate.

So expect a period of adjustment, which can vary from person to person. Work with your hearing aid specialist to “ease” into listening with your hearing aids. The goal is to work your way up to wearing the hearing aids for your entire day.

In a matter of time, your brain will adapt to this new, improved sound.

What To Expect: Hearing Aid Prices

When it comes to the price of hearing aids, it’s critical to take into account the quality and level of service you’ll be getting from your provider.  Lower cost usually equates to much less service.  It’s a mistake to think all you need is hearing aids and you’ll be fine.

The most advanced hearing aids with all available accessories (i.e. Bluetooth Remote, Rechargeable Battery System, etc.)  and lifetime service at the level recommended by the Better Hearing Institute, the American Academy of Audiology and the International Hearing Society typically run from $5895 to $8,000.  With the rapid growth of technology today, it’s possible to get very good instruments and service for as little as $2695.  Furthermore, there is special financing and programs for people with limited means to get hearing aids.  So, never allow the cost to stop you or a loved one from seeking help.  The factors that influence the cost of hearing aids are 1) level of technology, 2)  warranty length, 3) after fitting care offered by your hearing professional, 4) the provider’s overhead costs like advertising and rent.

Hearing professionals typically recommend two hearing aids because, in most cases 1) hearing loss occurs in both ears 2) correcting both ears allows faster location of sounds for your safety and 3) it keeps both sound centers in the brain healthy and functioning effectively.  The fact is, aiding one ear leads to auditory deprivation for the other ear and cognitive decline. Our brains are wired to hear with both ears.

What To Expect: Hearing Aid Technology and Features

When it comes to different levels of technology and features, you have 4 to 6 levels (i.e. Basic to Most Advanced) from which to choose.  With the rapid advancement in technology, even Basic aids include features like:

  • Automated feedback cancellation– reduces random whistling throughout the day and improves the ability to talk on the phone.
  • Automated volume adjustment based on the listening conditions.
  • Directional and omnidirectional microphones that provide versatility in various listening situations (quite or noisy)
  • Notifications & reminders – hearing aids can talk to you, discretely notifying you of everything from a settings change to when you have an appointment with your hearing professional.
  • Telecoils that connect to Hearing/Induction Loops in churches, theaters, public transportation, etc.
  • Style –  most aids today are nearly invisible and stylish looking to completely invisible.

More advanced  hearing aid features include:

  • Wireless connectivity -allows two aids to work in tandem to provide better speech audibility in difficult situations.  This also turns hearing aids into a personal headset, for all forms of audio devices, including cell phones and televisions
  • Automated program switching – relieves the user from having to manually switch programs based on the listening environment and what you want to hear.
  • Automatic Learning of users preferred settings
  • Smart directional mics that focus on the speaker whether they’re in front, behind or beside you.
  • Bluetooth connectivity to any sound source (Cell phones, computers, TV’s, Stereos, iPods, etc.)
  • Frequency shifting for people with dead regions in their Cochlea
  • And, more

Make a list of your hearing and life priorities, the sounds you miss and want to hear again. Then you’ll know where to put your hearing aid dollars to get the biggest BANG for your buck, and the best listening and wearing experience based on your priorities.

Experience hearing aids for yourself. Contact Hearing Health at 503-292-2995 today for a free comprehensive hearing evaluation.

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