So the time has finally come. You’ve decided you’ve had just about all you can take of turning up the TV too loud and constantly asking “What did you say?” while talking to your spouse. That’s right, it’s time to get your first hearing aid. Great news! You’ll be able to hear like normal again and stave off the nasty side effects of hearing loss, such as dementia and cognitive decline.
But what’s the first step in finding the right hearing aid for you? There are so many different types, all with their own pros and cons. Getting familiar with the types of hearing aids is the best way to get started, which is why we put together this guide to help you understand what’s on the market, what benefits and features to look for, and ultimately how to choose the hearing aid that is right for you.
Types of Hearing Aids
First thing’s first: every hearing aid is guaranteed to help you hear better if you’re suffering from hearing loss. The differences start to come in when you consider the size, available features, and the price – especially if your health insurance doesn’t cover the cost of hearing aids. That being said, here are some of the most common types of hearing aids:
This is what often comes to mind when people think of a hearing aid. It hooks over your ear and has an earpiece that fits in the ear canal. This is the largest type of hearing aid, which is good for people who are afraid of losing a tiny hearing aid, but bad for those who want their hearing aid to be discrete. Behind the ear hearing aids provide the most sound amplification, but are also susceptible to picking up wind noise.
This style is very similar to behind the ear hearing aids, but they use a wire instead of tubing to connect the pieces together. While it’s a little less visible than a traditional behind the ear hearing aid, wearers often find that earwax clogs up the hearing aid.
Open-Fit Hearing Aids
Open-fit hearing aids fall into the same behind-the-ear category, but they keep the ear canal fairly open. This means that low-frequency sounds can enter the ear without needing the hearing aid, while high-frequency sounds filter through the hearing aid. These are less visible and are good to use if you suffer from moderate hearing loss.
In-the-Ear Hearing Aids
These hearing aids fit directly in the ear, either covering the entire ear or just the lower portion. These are great for people with severe hearing loss and come with several features, including volume control and longer battery life. These tend to be fairly visible and are also susceptible to earwax issues and wind noise.
In-the-Canal Hearing Aids
In-the-canal or completely-in-the-canal hearing aids are the smallest hearing aids on the market. They’re great if you only have mild hearing loss and want something more discreet. Unfortunately, the battery life on these hearing aids is not so great and they aren’t typically packed with features due to their small size.
Keep in mind that each of these types of hearing aids might have some different features depending on their manufacturer and when they were released For instance, many newer hearing aids feature Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to connect your hearing aid directly to your smartphone, tablet, TV, or even your car. Depending on your personal situation, these may make or break features for your hearing aids.
Now that you have a good idea of what types of hearing aids are out there, your next step is to visit a hearing specialist who can give you a proper ear exam and give you more information about pricing and what your insurance may or may not cover.
Ready to take the next step and choose your hearing aid? Contact a hearing specialist near you and schedule a consultation to learn more about the hearing aids that are right for you and start hearing better again.