Hearing aid is basically an instrument that helps a person affected by hearing loss. It is an electro-acoustic apparatus, which is worn inside or behind the ear. The main objective of a hearing aid is to amplify and modulate sounds for the wearer. As people grow older, most of them lose the ability to hear properly. A hearing aid is like a boon for them, which helps them communicate with others without any difficulty. For reaping the full advantage of hearing aids, it is very important that you pick them carefully. In this article, we have provided information on thetypes of hearing aids and how to choose the best one amongst them.
How to Choose Hearing Aids
- First of all, get a checkup done to make sure that your hearing loss is permanent and you need to get hearing aid for the same. At times, hearing loss is because of a temporary problem and has the possibility of being completely cured.
- Visit a good audiologist. In case you don’t know one, ask your doctor to refer someone. Go to the audiologist and check out the various types and styles of hearing aids available from him. From those, take your pick.
- Now, decide on the style of hearing aid that you want. Usually, the smaller a hearing aid is, the less powerful it will be and the more it will cost. In other words, the shortest hearing aids are recommended only if the hearing loss is mild. On the other hand, the ‘behind the ear’ hearing aid is good for all types of hearing loss and all the age groups.
- After this, make a decision as to what technology of hearing aid will be most suited to you. The basic analog comes with a pre-adjusted setting and you have to manually tone it up and down. It is the least expensive one, but is becoming outdated. On the other end are the digital hearing aids. They are expensive, but much more finely tuned to your hearing loss. Between the two extremes, you find a number of versions.
- After you have decided on the type and style of hearing aid that will suit you the best, it is the time to buy it. Make sure to get a trial period for the aid and arrive on the price of trial beforehand.
Types of Hearing Aids
On the Basis of Style
Hearing aids come in a number of styles, differing in size and the way they are placed in the ear. The most popular styles of hearing aids are:
- Completely in the Canal: This hearing aid fits inside the ear canal, but is useful only if you have mild to moderate hearing loss. It is very small and is hardly visible to the eye.
- In the Canal: This hearing aid fits only partly inside the ear canal and party sticks outside. It is suited for people suffering from mild to moderately severe hearing loss. Some of the ‘In the Canal’ hearing aids come with a remote control too.
- In the Ear: This hearing aid is totally visible to the eye, as it is mainly placed over the bowl-shaped area of the outer ear. Those with mild to severe hearing loss should go for this style.
- Behind the Ear: This hearing aid has an ear mold that is placed inside the ear canal, while another part of it rests behind the ear. Behind-the-ear style is suitable for almost all types of hearing loss and people of all ages.
- Open Fit: This hearing aid is very small in size and fits easily behind the ear. From there, a small tube or wire carries the sound to a tiny dome or speaker, placed in the ear canal. They work the best in case of mild to moderate high-frequency hearing loss and not low-frequency hearing loss.
On the Basis of Technology
The technology used in the hearing aids differs from one to the other. The most popular types of hearing aids, technology-wise, are:
- Basic Analog: This hearing aid uses the most conventional technology. The amplification level is pre-set and you have to adjust it manually later on. Though this hearing aid is the least expensive, it is slowly becoming outdated.
- Programmable Analog: This hearing aid allows the audiologist to adjust these aids to amplify sounds differently. This way, you do not have to do it manually every time the sound intensity changes. Programmable analogs are costlier than basic analogs, but cheaper than digital ones.
- Digital: This hearing aid has a built-in computer chip that converts the incoming sound into digital code. The code is then analyzed and the sound adjusted on the basis of the hearing loss and listening needs. It is the most finely tuned to your hearing loss and is expensive too.