Choosing the correct hearing aid is a daunting process. The best way is to break the decision down into several smaller selections:
With the help of your audiologist, you should go through each point on this list. Once you reach the end, it should be clear which hearing aid is right for you.
There are 6 main styles of hearing aids. The completely-in-the-canal (CIC) fits in the ear canal. This is the smallest model but due to its size, lacks any additional features. It also has the shortest battery life. The in-the-canal (ITC) model fits half in the canal and half outside. Since the ITC is slightly larger than the CIC, it can fit more features and has a longer battery life. The in-the-ear (ITE) model fits in the larger part of the ear and is more visible and powerful than the CIC and ITC. All three models are suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss.
The behind-the-ear (BTE) model has two parts, one that goes behind the ear and one that goes in the ear; the parts are connected with a tube. The receiver-in-canal (RIC) has the same two parts, but they are connected with a thin wire, making this model less visible. Both are the largest models and therefore have a longer battery life and more features. These models are appropriate for all types of hearing loss.
The last model is the open fit model. This is similar to the BTE but the piece that goes in the ear canal is smaller. This lets some sounds enter the ear naturally and some sounds must still go through the amplifier. This model is idea for mild to moderate hearing loss.
The second category to select is controls. Some hearing aids put the control in your hands; you are able to adjust the volume and other sound programs. Some are simple and the only decision you need to make is whether to turn it on or off.
There are multiple accessories available to help you get the most from your hearing aid. It is important to identify which ones you actually need. Does your hearing aid need to contain a telecoil? If you often attend the theater, sit in on a lecture or ever spend time in public spaces, a telecoil may be right for you. A telecoil works as a miniature wireless receiver, picking up electromagnetic signals from various systems (FM, infrared and a hearing loop) and turning those signals into sound inside the hearing aid. This direct connection helps to eliminate background noise.
If you will have trouble manipulating the small buttons and dials on a hearing aid, a remote control is a good option. The pocket-sized remote enables you to control various features of the hearing aid without requiring you to touch the device.
Rechargeable batteries are helpful if removing a small battery may become a problem. Instead of having to fumble with the batteries, you can simple place the whole hearing aid in a charger every night.
The level of technology available in a hearing aid can be classified into 4 levels: entry level, standard, advanced and premium. Standard will contain a few numbers of channels for fine-tuning and basic noise reduction technology. Advanced will contain more channels for fine-tuning, Bluetooth compatibility, remote control, synchronization between each hearing aid and advanced noise reduction. The premium classification contains the largest number of channels for fine-tuning, Bluetooth compatibility, remote control, synchronization between each hearing aid and sophisticated noise reduction.
Once you have decided what style, level of control, amount of accessories and level of technology you want you should be able to make a better decision about what kind of hearing aid will fit all your needs.
To start the hearing aid selection process, contact Central Florida Hearing Services at (863) 386-9111 to set up an appointment.