Choosing a hearing aid
How to select the best hearing aid
There are many styles and types of hearing aids available from many different hearing aid brands. Often, the features and technology used in hearing aids are explained in technical terms that mean very little to the uninitiated, so choosing a hearing aid is not an easy task. You need to consider several things:
- Lifestyle needs
- Dexterity and vision
- Hearing loss
Lifestyle needs and hearing aid technology
Hearing aid technology levels can be confusing at best, why is a premium a premium? What difference is there between a basic level hearing aid and a standard level hearing aid? Many different hearing aid brands use different naming rules for hearing aid technology. In general, many of the big brands have three or four levels of hearing aid technology on offer. They may call them different things but generally they fall into basic, mid-level and premium or top of the range.
For instance, Phonak offer four levels of hearing aid technology that they call the 90 (top of the range), the 70, the 50 and the 30. While it is obvious that the 90 is the premium and the 30 is basic, what about the two in the middle? What Phonak has done is split the mid-level into two distinct products, a lower mid-level and an upper mid-level. They have done this to ensure that there is a better spread of products on offer that suit more budgets and lifestyle needs.
What part do lifestyle needs play?
Your lifestyle needs play a huge part in choosing a hearing aid, we would balance your lifestyle needs and your budget to make the best recommendation for you. Each level of hearing aid technology will help you hear better in different lifestyle situations. For instance, a basic or entry level hearing aid technology will help you hear better in more sedate sound situations, but a premium level or top of the range hearing aid technology will help you in diverse and noisy sound situations. So an understanding of what you do everyday and the situations that you find yourself in, is imperative for us to begin making a decision about what hearing aid technology level is right for you.
Here is a brief outline of what you can expect from different levels of technology:
Basic Hearing Aids: You can expect basic hearing aids to help you:
- to hear the TV better
- to hear on the telephone better
- to hear better in a one to one
- to hear better in small group situations
- to hear better in sedate sound environments
Lower Mid Level Hearing Aids: You can expect lower mid level to offer you everything that basic will offer you and to also help you:
- to hear better in slightly larger groups
- to hear better in moderately noisy situations
Upper Mid Level Hearing Aids: You can expect upper mid level to offer you everything that the lower two do and also to help you:
- to hear better in noisy situations
- to hear better in large group situations
- to hear better in the car
Premium Level Hearing Aids: You can expect premium level hearing aids to offer you everything the others do and also to help you:
- to hear better in every single sound environment you find yourself in
Dexterity and vision
Dexterity and vision play a large part in choosing a hearing aid as well. If your dexterity or vision is bad, well then small hearing aids with fiddly batteries may not be what you need. In that case, we may consider recommending a rechargeable hearing aid type for you.
Hearing loss does play a part in our considerations, some hearing losses are better suited to certain types of hearing aids. For instance, open fit hearing aids, receiver in canal or thin tube mini behind the ear hearing aids, are ideally suitable for people with high frequency hearing loss. Custom in the ear hearing aids are most definitely not suitable for that type of hearing loss. So yes, your hearing loss is another factor that needs to be considered carefully.
Finally, and probably the most important factor is your budget. We need to take all of the other factors into account and then make a recommendation on something that you can afford.
At Harmony Hearing we always ensure that the solutions we offer will deliver to your needs. If you want to talk about choosing a hearing aid, call us on 1800 02 04 06 or book an appointment online.