Once you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss in Salem, your next step is selecting a pair of hearing aids. If you’ve never had to choose these devices before, you’ll probably be in for a surprise. There are so many different styles available, it’s difficult to know where to even start! We can help you narrow down your choices.
Considerations in Choosing Hearing Aids
Hearing loss is the third most common physical condition in Oregon. Only arthritis and heart disease afflict more patients in Salem. The good news? 90 percent of individuals diagnosed with hearing loss can benefit from the amplification hearing aids provide.
How do you choose a hearing aid?
Choosing hearing aids can feel overwhelming. Your Salem audiologist is happy to assist in the process; they will determine the type and degree of your hearing loss, which will immediately help you focus on certain models and eliminate others.
Hearing aid styles
It’s hard to tell which has changed more in hearing aids over the years: their look or function. In the past, hearing aids were large and bulky. People who didn’t want to draw attention to their condition often skipped wearing them for fear they would appear old or frail.
This all changed with the advent of digital technology, which enabled much smaller microprocessors. Beginning in the early 2000s, hearing aids began to shrink in size.
Today, you can find options tiny enough to fit wholly in your ear canal, so other people won’t even know you are wearing them. Other styles include full-shell, half-shell, behind-the-ear and open fit. There are pros and cons to each; the main things to focus on are finding a pair you find cosmetically appealing that will address your specific hearing needs, match your lifestyle and are within your budget.
Hearing aid electronics
They say “it’s what is on the inside that counts,” and this applies to electronics as well as people.
Cost and performance are highly dependent upon hearing aid design; two devices might look alike on the exterior, but their internal electronics could be vastly different.
The majority of hearing aids on the market today feature digital sound processing that is able to filter out background noise and eliminate most of the problems that were common in analog devices, such as feedback and distortion.
Don’t skimp on hearing aids; you’ll need a pair powerful enough to help overcome your specific hearing deficits.
Hearing aid options
Once you have finally settled on a pair of hearing aids, you still have work to do: you’ll need to figure out which options you want. These depend on your degree of hearing loss, lifestyle, activity level and social needs. The most popular options today include:
- Bluetooth®. Wireless connectivity enables you to stream audio directly to your hearing aids from a variety of other electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, computers and TVs. This provides convenience and ensures you won’t disturb others around you when listening to music or watching television.
- Directional microphones. Up until recently, hearing aids had only one microphone that remained fixed in place. Microphones that can be manually adjusted to pick up sounds from multiple directions will help you follow movies, lectures or concerts more easily.
- Rechargeable batteries. Hearing aids need a power source and most rely on batteries, which typically last three to seven days. These can be costly over time and harmful to the environment. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are becoming more readily available; these provide a full day’s worth of operation following an overnight charge.
Hearing aid price
We would be remiss in not mentioning cost. Everybody has a budget they are comfortable with and without a doubt, hearing aids can be expensive—and few health plans cover the costs. It’s important to choose hearing aids that are powerful enough to meet your hearing needs; it’s pointless to buy a cheap pair if they are inadequate and end up relegated to a nightstand or the dreaded “junk drawer.”
Make an appointment with an audiologist if you need help deciding
These factors should help you get a start in choosing a pair of hearing aids right for you. If you have questions or need additional help, sit down with your Salem audiologist; together, the two of you can pick out a pair that will suit your needs.
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