How To Choose A Hearing Aid For You
The best hearing aid for you depends on your level of hearing loss, your lifestyle and your fit preferences. First, consult a hearing health professional, such as an audiologist, for a hearing examination to determine your level of hearing loss. From there, they can help you review specific hearing aid models most appropriate for your situation and pick the one youd like to try.
Dont Have Time To Watch The Video
Here are Cliffs notes on what to consider when purchasing a hearing aid. Keep in mind that your hearing professional should be helping you understand the options:
Looking to understand the available hearing aid features? Check out Hearing Trackers hearing aid matching engine.
What’s The Difference Between Hearing Aids And Hearing Amplifiers
Hearing aids are meant to help if you have impaired hearing. These are the best option if your hearing loss is severe.
Personal sound amplification products , meanwhile, use the same technology to increase sounds in certain situations for folks. But PSAPs are substantially cheaper. These are traditionally only used for people who don’t have hearing loss, but recent research shows PSAPs may be beneficial for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Sara K. Mamo, AuD, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who co-authored a study on the topic, said it’s important the device you choose can be customized to your hearing test results and includes noise reduction.
“If your device can turn down a little bit of the background noise, you get that separation, you get that difference between the signal you want to hear and the background that’s making it hard for you to hear,” Dr. Mamo explained.
Dr. Humes agreed that there are some good quality PSAPs, but not very many. He said he usually guides people toward the more affordable hearing aid options instead since good quality PSAPs often cost almost as much.
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What To Consider Before Buying A Hearing Aid
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports that 37.5 million American adults have some level of hearing loss.20 While hearing loss can occur at any time in life, the problem becomes more common with age.
The NIDCD estimates almost one in four adults between the ages of 65 and 74 and half of people older than 75 have disabling hearing loss. It may come as a surprise that only one in three adults who could benefit from hearing aids has ever used them. In fact, people with hearing loss tend to wait an average of 10 years before seeking treatment, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine21.
There are many reasons that may prevent those with hearing loss from seeking help. The following are some of the more common:
- The cost of hearing aids and hearing care
- The fact that insurance companies and Medicare do not cover hearing aids
- The Distance from hearing care providers
- The stigma associated with wearing a hearing aid
We asked Michelle Brady, an audiologist with Access Audiology, a mobile audiology service in the New York City area, what shed like people to know about the purchasing process. According to Brady, the most important thing to consider when shopping for a hearing aid is time.
Which Hearing Aid Will Work Best For Me
The hearing aid that will work best for you depends on the kind and severity of your hearing loss. If you have a hearing loss in both of your ears, two hearing aids are generally recommended because two aids provide a more natural signal to the brain. Hearing in both ears also will help you understand speech and locate where the sound is coming from.
You and your audiologist should select a hearing aid that best suits your needs and lifestyle. Price is also a key consideration because hearing aids range from hundreds to several thousand dollars. Similar to other equipment purchases, style and features affect cost. However, dont use price alone to determine the best hearing aid for you. Just because one hearing aid is more expensive than another does not necessarily mean that it will better suit your needs.
A hearing aid will not restore your normal hearing. With practice, however, a hearing aid will increase your awareness of sounds and their sources. You will want to wear your hearing aid regularly, so select one that is convenient and easy for you to use. Other features to consider include parts or services covered by the warranty, estimated schedule and costs for maintenance and repair, options and upgrade opportunities, and the hearing aid companys reputation for quality and customer service.
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Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids
Medicare and most private insurance plans dont cover hearing aids. Some plans, including Medicare Advantage, pay for some costs.
The Veterans Administration covers hearing aids in many cases. And many federal workers, including retirees, may have hearing aid benefits through the Federal Employees Health Benefits program.
Tuning In To Hearing Aid Types
Digital hearing aids come in five major styles and are categorized by where on or in the ear theyre worn. In spring 2018 we asked more than 122,000 Consumer Reports members about their experiences with hearing loss and hearing aids. The majority of the hearing aids were mini-behind-the-ear types.
Mini-Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aid This type goes by various names, including receiver-in-the-canal , receiver-in-the-ear , receiver-in-the-aid , and canal receiver technology . Here, the receiver is inside the ear canal. It attaches to the ear via a thin wire and a custom-made earmold , or a noncustom dome-style ear-canal piece.
Pros: Comfortable, barely visible. Prevents a plugged-up feeling . Larger versions are easy to insert.
Cons: Wax and moisture buildup may limit the life of the receiver. Does not allow for significant amplification, especially in the low frequencies.
Traditional Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aid In this group of aids, which sometimes includes RITA hearing aids, all electronic components are in the plastic case worn behind the ear. Sound is sent to the ear through the tubing that connects the case to the receiver and a custom earmold worn in the ear canal.
Cons: Some custom molds are visible. Vulnerable to sweat and wax buildup, but the tubing and mold are easily cleaned. The earmold must fit snugly and fill the entire ear canal, which can cause a plugged-up feeling.
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Top Recommendation Is Phonak
Phonak is my personal favorite brand of hearing aids. It honestly has been since I was in grad school. I know the product inside and out and feel that 90% of the time this is the right product for my patients. In my opinion, the device performs very well in automatic autopilot mode and does not need manual programs. It has great feedback control. It is hands down the best Bluetooth device out there as it connects to all phones be it a flip phone, Android or iPhone.
I am the moderator of a Phonak Facebook support group and posts are almost all positive regarding the products. I give this my best recommendation. The device I recommend most often is the top-of-the-line product, the Phonak Audeo P90-R with custom earmolds. But any of the lines of products are great.
If you would like to find a provider who can fit a Phonak hearing aid please click here.
Where Can I Find Cheap Hearing Aids
Speak with an audiologist to learn about the most appropriate hearing aid options for you, and then make your selection based on affordability. Aiming for a less expensive option over one that can address your hearing loss appropriately can lead to the selection of a hearing aid that doesnt work as well as it should for you.
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Monitor Your Health At The Same Time
Feeling guilty about that tech wearable or smartwatch sitting in your drawer? Some hearing aids can now take their place. Known as healthables, these hearing aids are equipped with sensors and artificial intelligence that can track your health and activity levels via an app, as well as detect when you fall and call 911 or a loved one for you. Healthables provide greater quality of data than anything you wear on your wrist, because the ear is much closer to the brain, Rout says.
Keep An Eye On Warranties Payment Plans And Trading Discounts
Since hearing aids can be a huge investment, you need to know how to plan financially for them.
So Doc How Should I Narrow Down My Choices
If youve gotten this far, you know that level of hearing loss is an important consideration.
- Group 1 Patients Eargo
- Group 2 Patients Tie between Audicus, Beltone, and Miracle-Ear
- Group 3 Patients Tie between Oticon, Signia, and Starkey
- Group 4 Patients Tie between GN ReSound and Phonak
Within each category, there are financial considerations. While I dont think very many people actively look for ways to spend the most they can for technology, yes, there are folks for whom typical prices are not a real issue. I know of no research that correlates financial resources with the above categories of patient need, so Ill just leave the pricing and financing information in each summary for your review.
Simplicity And Continued Care
Begin the process by completing an online hearing test followed by a pre-purchase video. Once you receive your hearing aids, youll be connected with an audiologist via video conference who will program and adjust your hearing aids.
Theres no need to wait for an appointment or drive to a hearing center, which is especially nice during the pandemic. Working with an audiologist ensures you get hearing aids specific to your hearing loss. It also allows the opportunity to ask questions about the best way to use your hearing aids.
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Your Best Hearing Aid Choice Is The One Which Is Comfortable Enough To Wear For At Least Four Hours A Day
The minimum period of average daily hearing aid use is around four hours use per day to be considered a successful user. Many of our clients average eight or more hours use per day which, is a common result of them finding their best hearing aid.
The amount of usage time relates to many factors:
- The comfort of the hearing aid in the ear
- The comfort of the sound in a variety of situations including your own voice
- The improvement in hearing provided in a variety of situations, especially when background noise is present.
It is up to your hearing specialist to ensure that there arent any issues limiting your use to less than four hours per day on average.
You should also keep this minimum figure in mind as less usage per day tends to lead to a situation where you might stop wearing the instruments despite it providing benefit in some situations. We have an article discussing the issue of non-use here.
Follow-ups after the initial fitting are critical to achieving consistent and beneficial use. Modern digital hearing aids keep data logging information that clearly shows the clinician what your average daily use was since you last saw them.
Longer term recalls ensure that this usage does not start tapering off over time. If it does, then the clinician can do something about it to help you achieve a long-term benefit. As such at least six monthly clinician visits are recommended. Have a look at our client journey to see what a solid plan for long-term benefit looks like.
How Can I Care For My Hearing Aid
Proper maintenance and care will extend the life of your hearing aid. Make it a habit to:
- Keep hearing aids away from heat and moisture.
- Clean hearing aids as instructed. Earwax and ear drainage can damage a hearing aid.
- Avoid using hairspray or other hair care products while wearing hearing aids.
- Turn off hearing aids when they are not in use.
- Replace dead batteries immediately.
- Keep replacement batteries and small aids away from children and pets.
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In The Canal Hearing Aids
In-the-canal hearing aids are custom molded to fit partially in the ear canal. This type is suitable for adults experiencing mild to moderate hearing loss.
Best Hearing Aids Reviewed
The EarSpoke R100 is a wireless AMPLIFIER that puts you in control of your listening environments.
It is fully compatible with all major hearing aid systems.
Its manufactured by the worlds leading hearing aid manufacturer to provide you with instant and reliable wireless connectivity to your hearing aids.
It enables you to enjoy the full benefits of amplified sound whether you are at home or traveling on the road.
People who need hearing aids to communicate have to bear the expenses of using costly devices. EarSpoke has presented it at a very affordable price.
For people with mild to moderate hearing loss, Smart Hearing can help make everyday life easier, including activities like talking on the phone, watching TV, or listening to music.
EarSpoke makes hearing aids that use Bluetooth technology to pair with a hearing amplifier , which is a small device plugged into the hearing aid, to appeal to the newer generation of hearing aid users. The HEA is paired with a smartphone app that is used to control the volume and power output of the hearing aid.
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Think About Your Lifestyle
These different styles of hearing aids have many features that may provide advantages to your lifestyle. These include directional microphones, automatic volume controls, noise and feedback reductions, and extended-life batteries. There are additional features that can help with work or hobbies, such as waterproof hearing aids, wireless streaming to connect to phones and digital music players, or sound generators to help mask tinnitus .
Best Rechargeable Hearing Aids
To find the best rechargeable hearing aids on the market, I considered the following four criteria:
- Longest lasting battery – When fully-charged, which hearing aid provides the highest number of hours of continuous use?
- Fastest charging – Which hearing aids charge the fastest?
- Battery replacement – How often do batteries need to be replaced? And, what is the process like?
- Charging case options – Are the chargers well designed? Are they portable? Do they provide additional charges on the go?
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Hear Better With These Top
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A missed sentence here. A ringing there. The beginning stages of hearing loss can feel different for each person. According to audiologist Suzanne Katko, AUD, CCC-A, its usually the people around those experiencing hearing loss that notice the issue first. Another common sign is when people notice that theyre struggling in loud environments, adds ENT-otolaryngologist Helena Wichova, MD. Once it is brought to their attention, the individual themself must recognize that they have a problem and have to want to do something about it for themself, says Dr. Katko.
Its important to note that the cost of hearing aids is nothing to scoff at: the usual price of a hearing aid averages between $1,000 to $5,000, and some insurance companies dont cover them. A pair also doesnt last you as long as you might think. Dr. Katko says the typical time for replacement is at the five-year mark. The reason people choose to replace hearing aids is that new technology comes out, with features that they want to take advantage of, and the hearing aids begin to wear out. And their hearing can get worse, she explains.