I don’t know about you, but I have enough trouble choosing a $3 tube of toothpaste; don’t get me started on how stressful it is making a real decision. This would include buying a car, house or hearing aid.
There are 48 million people in Utah and throughout the country with hearing loss. Most of these individuals could benefit from the use of a hearing aid while only 20 percent of those actually use one. Why? Some audiologists believe it is because the process seems too daunting. Here at Advanced Hearing & Balance this is not the case.
Below are the steps we use to help you find the right hearing aid for you.
The Hearing Test
The first thing we will do is have you complete a series of hearing tests. This gives us pertinent information such as the type and degree of your hearing loss
Severity is measured in degrees, based upon your hearing loss range in decibels. It can range from normal (-10 to 15 dB) to profound (91+ dB), with a total of seven different possibilities.
The frequency of your hearing loss is also important, as it can help determine your type of hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss results from damage to the outer or middle ear and affects low frequency sounds. Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear, which results in a loss of high frequency sounds.
There is an ever-growing list of available additional features a hearing aid can contain. Popular features include directional microphones, feedback suppression, amplifiers, digital noise reduction, wax guards, automatic volume control and Bluetooth® connectivity. The larger the device you choose, the more additional features it can contain. You and your audiologist will need to determine which features you need, which you want and which are unnecessary. This will help narrow down the style that’s right for you.
Next you’ll have to determine your listening lifestyle. Do you enjoy quiet, intimate gatherings with a few close friends or do you prefer an active outdoor lifestyle? Determining your listening lifestyle is important, since each puts you in situations with different levels of background noise. Knowing how much background noise you will be around helps your audiologist determine the amount of technology your hearing aid must have.
Determining your cosmetic preference is important in the selection process, as the only way you will experience the true benefits of the devices is if you feel comfortable wearing them every day. Hearing aids are available in a variety of sizes and styles; some are visible while others are implanted deep within the ear canal, rendering them virtually undetectable. The smaller the hearing aid, the shorter its battery life is and fewer additional features it can contain.
Finally, and perhaps the most important factor to consider, is the cost. Hearing aids are expensive; they can range in price from a few hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars apiece.
While it may seem like an easy decision to go for a less expensive model, it is important to take your specific hearing needs into consideration. Investing in a cheap hearing aid that is ineffective is a waste of money; conversely, you don’t want to overspend on features that won’t benefit you.
Once you really break down the decisions that go into buying a hearing aid, it becomes much less daunting. The best part? You won’t have to make any of these decisions by yourself, as Advanced Hearing & Balance audiologist will be with you every step of the way.
Contact us today to get started.