Things to consider when purchasing hearing aids
4 min read
When to Buy a Hearing AidBuying a hearing aid can be a significant step towards improving your quality of life. If you have been missing out on conversations, it may be time to evaluate your hearing. Most people with hearing loss do not get evaluated right away, because it is almost impossible to self-diagnose hearing loss. Usually, it is something that is noticeable when you communicate with others. You may notice that you seem to be missing important parts of conversations, or you may struggle to hear movies or TV shows with the volume at a level where others seem to be having no difficulty. If you are noticing a pattern of difficulty with your hearing, ask your audiologist for a hearing screening to see if a hearing aid is right for you.
How Can a Hearing Aid Help?Hearing aids work by amplifying sound and transmitting it into the ear. The hearing aid’s microphone picks up the sound and amplifies the signal into the ear for better hearing. Digital hearing aids can do wonders for combating hearing loss by not only amplifying the sound you want to hear, but reducing the background sounds. Conversations, dialogue in movies, and even audio alerts while driving or at work can become clearer and louder. This can significantly improve your quality of life, making it less likely that you will be missing out on sounds you want and need to hear.
The Steps to Purchasing a Hearing AidBefore connecting with a professional to purchase your hearing aid, there are a few initial steps that you should take to decide whether a hearing aid is right for you. Some things to consider before purchasing a hearing aid are:
- Get a hearing test - Hearing tests are easy and painless. Having a professional hearing evaluation at a hearing center can help determine your level of hearing loss to better assist you in choosing a hearing aid that will be most beneficial to you.
- Determine your hearing needs - It is important to have an understanding about what kinds of things are important to you when it comes to your hearing. Do you need to be able to hear better at work? What is your environment like? Knowing your priorities and details about your lifestyle can help your healthcare provider when deciding on a hearing aid for you.
- Financing - It is important to know the hearing aid costs up front and how you will finance your hearing aid. Medicare does not cover hearing aids, but some insurance plans do have hearing aid insurance benefits. Make sure you know what is and is not covered in your plan prior to purchasing so your healthcare provider can find an option that is affordable for you. Many providers also offer financing plans.
Hearing Aid FeaturesHearing aids have become increasingly functional in recent years, and they have a variety of options from the most basic to high-tech. The hearing aid you choose depends mainly on your level of hearing loss, your personal preferences, and your budget. You can visit a hearing aid store to get an idea of some of the features ahead of choosing your hearing aid. Some popular hearing aid features include:
- Programmability - Most hearing aids have some level of programmability. This involves adjusting the amplification settings for your specific hearing loss as well as for your environment as it changes. For example, your hearing aid might have a restaurant setting or a home setting, because the environments are quite different in the way you experience sounds.
- Style - Hearing aids range from larger, over-the-ear styles, to more compact, in-ear styles. The type you choose will depend on both your personal preference as well as your level of hearing loss. The functionality you need will determine the size and style of hearing aid you purchase.
- Directional microphones - Although it is important if you have hearing loss to recover as much hearing as possible, most people will say that they primarily need a hearing aid to help hear and understand speech. Directional microphones can help filter out the speaker based on where they are in relation to you, so you can more effectively hear someone talking to you.
- Background noise minimization - In addition to amplifying the sounds that you want to hear, hearing aids can also help minimize the unwanted background noises that make it difficult to decipher what you are trying to hear.
- Telecoils - Telecoils are a simple but effective way to experience technology more effectively. They can hep eliminate feedback when talking on the phone, and connect with hearing loop systems in movie theaters or other sound systems for optimal sound.
- Wireless connectivity - Did you know you can connect your hearing aid to your smart phone? Bluetooth hearing aids can be very useful for conveniently adjusting your hearing aid settings on the go.