If you’ve been wearing hearing aids for a while, you’re
Tips for Selecting Hearing Aids
So you’ve decided to treat your hearing loss with hearing aids: Good for you! More and more research indicates that untreated hearing loss leads to significant and more serious health concerns as time passes, and it is best to treat hearing loss with hearing aids as soon as possible. Treating acquired hearing loss allows us to continue to address the world with all the senses to which we’re accustomed. That translates not only to improved long-term health outcomes, but also to a greater sense of well-being.
Research has even indicated that those who treat their hearing loss with hearing aids report a greater sense of general optimism about the world than those who do not treat their hearing loss. While there is an adjustment period required to get used to using hearing aids, the experience of life on the other side of that period is well worth it.
Whether you’re about to head in for your hearing test, or you’ve already done that and are returning to your audiologist to select a set of hearing aids or undergo fitment, it’s good to remember that the hearing aids you choose will be your window to the auditory world for years to come. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you make the best selection for you and your lifestyle.
Bring a Friend
Enlist a trusted friend, family member, or loved one to accompany you to the office. You’ll be receiving a lot of information about the market of hearing aids, and two people tend to remember more than one. It’s helpful to have someone to bounce ideas back and forth with, as well. Who knows: they may even have some insight into your routines and habits that you wouldn’t have thought about!
The reason that so many models and styles of hearing aid proliferate is that there are so many different types of people who need to augment their hearing. Do you engage in sporting activities and need hearing aids that can withstand sweat and improve your directional listening ability? Do they need to be submerged in water for any reason? Do you spend a lot of time in meetings? Do you use the phone a lot? Do you mostly stay at home or in a few places throughout the day? The life you lead will help determine what type of hearing aid is best for you. Your audiologist will be able to help guide you to the hearing aids that will suit you best as long as you can tell them what your needs are.
Take Your Time
If you feel overwhelmed at the options, take some time to let the information sink in. It might be helpful for you to make a “pros” and “cons” list of a few different models you need to decide between. Some audiologists may be able to fit a disposable plug on the tip of a behind-the-ear model and let you try it out, so you can get some sense of how it might feel on your ear. This is an important decision and a considerable investment, so make sure you can feel good about the choice you ultimately make.
Consider Features and Add-Ons
Add-ons like dehumidifiers, tele-coils, FM microphones and other wireless technologies can be indispensable for some and not so helpful to others. Likewise, many hearing aid manufacturers will offer full-featured models at significantly greater cost than their base models. This is part of why it’s important to come to the audiologist with a clear sense of what you want to get out of your hearing aids: you could save a lot of money if some features aren’t that important to you.
For example, if you tend not to spend time in larger groups, you might not need directional microphones. If you live in a drier climate and/or don’t sweat a lot, you might not need a dehumidifier. Everyone is different, which is why all hearing aids are not the same.
Remember the Adjustment Period
Whatever decision you make, remember that no hearing aid will feel perfect right out of the box. Unlike eyeglasses, which simply make our vision sharper in a way we can instantly appreciate, hearing aids take some time to get used to, and often require multiple fitment adjustments in the first few weeks you wear them. Once you have your hearing aids, stick with them and give them time to grow on you. Over 91% of people report being satisfied with their hearing aids after one year, so the odds are on your side!