You already recognize that you need to get hearing aids, so what now? Hearing aids are about to become an important part of your life, so selecting the right kind matters. There are different kinds of hearing aids available including some pretty cheap ones that are found only on the Internet. It’s up to you to decide what you expect from the device and how much you can afford to spend. When shopping for hearing aids, there are some sacrifices that you should be ok with, but is your hearing one of them?
Those Cheap Internet Knockoffs
Although they seem to be a bargain, those poor quality internet hearing assistance devices will wind up costing you more. They are very poor in quality and don’t perform very well. Batteries will be expensive when you need to replace them constantly.
The only function that these cheaper devices perform is sound amplification. You get several different technologies in a modern high-quality hearing aid that can be customized to your exact needs. You can decide to go cheap and buy one online but you will miss out on important features.
You need to understand that your new hearing aids will be an investment in your future. Hearing impacts every part of your life so it’s not the place to try and save money. Be certain to get the hearing aids you actually need. Even if you can’t afford them there could be other solutions.
Digital Vs. Analog
Digital hearing aids offer higher quality sound that is much more reliable. If you come across analog hearing aids, move on and shop for the digital units, instead.
It’s likely all of the hearing aids you see at quality retailers will be digital. You should be careful because analog devices are still out there if you don’t know what to look for. Analog makes reference to the kind of audio signal the hearing aid receives and the quality of the sound. The sound quality is very inconsistent with analog devices.
Looking For The Perfect Features
There are really two sides to hearing aid shopping: features and style. You want features that make your life better in a style that is comfortable. Some common features to consider include:
- Rechargeable batteries
- Wireless connectivity
- Direct audio input
- Noise reduction
- Variable programming
- Directional microphones
- Environmental noise control
- Remote controls
Think about the Styles
You will notice, when you begin researching hearing aids, that there are lots of styles to choose from. That is good news since it means that there is absolutely a style that will be ideal for you. Some of the different styles are:
- Receiver-in-the-Ear (RIE)
- In-the-Ear (ITE)
- Open Fit
- In-the-Ear (ITE)
- Receiver-in-the-Canal (RIC)
- Behind-the-Ear (BTE)
The names offer a pretty good definition for each. BTE means “behind the ear” and that’s exactly where the piece goes. A clear piece of tubing connects the BTE to an ear-mold which sits in the opening of the ear canal.
Did you already figure out that ITE hearing aids go “in the ear”? It’s a single unit that rests in the opening of the ear canal. Nothing attaches behind the ear. ITC means “in the canal” and they are very similar to ITE’s but ITC’s go further into the ear canal and that means that you can’t see them so much.
RIC and RIE, as the name indicates, have a receiver unit that sits in the ear and then connects by a wire to a piece that attaches behind it. These types of hearing aids are less conspicuous than a BTE.
Finally, open fit units are BTE devices but instead of connecting to an ear-mold, a thin tube goes into the ear canal. This format is a good choice for people who don’t like the feeling of something stuck in their ear.
Your task is to look at each of these options and figure out which of them is most important to you. For instance, if you use your phone or a computer a lot, you will probably want a device that has Bluetooth functionality. Rechargeable batteries save you money on replacement batteries and telecoil is great if you have to listen to lectures or seminars a lot.
Finally, Consider Your Buying Options
You should go to a qualified retailer to buy your hearing aids, one that custom fits the devices and offers a free trial period. Having the opportunity to try out your new hearing aids before you purchase them will give you confidence that you are making the best decision.
You should also look closely at the warranty that comes with the hearing aids. What’s covered? Some pay only for replacement parts, some cover the labor, also, and what about a new hearing aid if can’t be fixed?
Before picking out hearing aids make an appointment with a hearing care professional for a checkup and hearing test, also. Your hearing trouble may not require hearing aids.