If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss and your audiologist recommends treatment with hearing aids, your next step is to choose a pair. This seems straightforward enough, until you realize how many options you will have. Not only do hearing aids come in a variety of styles that can be worn behind your ear or in the canal, you will also be faced with deciding which features to choose and what accessories you want to purchase. You might even have to decide on a certain color! While the task of choosing a hearing aid may seem daunting, we’ve compiled some tips and suggestions that should make the experience an easier and more rewarding one. Keep the following in mind before beginning your search.
- Have an audiologist test your hearing. Some people self-diagnose their hearing loss and decide to treat it without the consultation of an audiologist or other hearing specialist. While taking action is admirable, understanding the type and degree of hearing loss is crucial to treating it. Hearing loss can affect the outer, middle, or inner ear, and can be caused by anything from impacted earwax or a perforated eardrum to nerve damage. Hearing aids might not be the correct solution; even if they are, you’ll need ones that target the specific frequencies you are missing out on. Leave the diagnosis to a professional!
- Take action now. If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss, it’s best to treat it immediately. Unfortunately, your condition will not improve; hearing loss is progressive, and will only worsen over time. The sooner you treat your condition, the more quickly you will adapt.
- Remember, you get what you pay for. Hearing aids are often available through big box retailers or online stores. These are often less expensive than what you might pay when purchasing from an audiologist, but they may be of inferior quality and will not be custom programmed to match your specific hearing needs. You shouldn’t skimp when it comes to your hearing health.
- Try before you buy. Your audiologist is happy to let you try out your hearing aids before committing to a purchase. It’s important to get a feel for them and learn firsthand what they can do for you. You might discover you prefer one style over another, or find a particular feature especially useful.
- Don’t forget accessories! A basic hearing aid will do the trick, but for a more complete hearing experience many users opt for accessories that will enhance or improve their communication experience. Your audiologist can discuss popular options such as dual microphones, feedback cancellation, telecoils and Bluetooth connectivity.