If you are experiencing hearing loss, odds are good that you’ll benefit from a hearing aid. But choosing the right one is no simple task. Today’s hearing aids are smaller and more feature-packed than their predecessors, offering an array of options. Narrowing the choices down can be tough but there are a few important things you should take into consideration before choosing a hearing aid.
First, you’ll need to have an audiologist assess your hearing loss. Severity is measured in degrees, based upon your hearing loss range in decibels. It ranges from normal (-10 to 15 dB) to profound (91+ dB), with a total of seven different degrees.
Equally important is the frequency of your hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss resulting from damage to the outer or middle ear affects low frequency sounds, while sensorineural hearing loss, in which damage occurs to the inner ear, results in a loss of high frequency sounds. You’ll need to choose a hearing aid that targets the frequencies you have trouble comprehending.
Functionality is an important consideration. With so many available features, you’ll need to decide which ones matter most to you. Popular features include directional microphones, feedback suppression, amplifiers, digital noise reduction, wax guards, automatic volume control and Bluetooth® connectivity. Extra features cost money, so speak with your audiologist to get an idea about the pros and cons of these features.
You’ll also have to take into account your lifestyle needs. Whether you enjoy quiet, intimate gatherings with a few close friends or an active outdoors lifestyle that includes a lot of background noise, there is a hearing aid designed specifically for your activity level.
Cosmetic preference is a key factor in choosing a hearing aid. Since you’ll be wearing it every day, it’s got to not only feel good but appeal to your confidence. Hearing aids are available in a variety of sizes and styles, some visible while others are implanted deep within the ear canal, rendering them virtually undetectable. Many are custom-molded to fit each individual’s ears.
Finally, there is cost. Hearing aids can range in price from a few hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars apiece. Price will be a factor, but be sure to consider your specific hearing needs when making this decision. 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. Your audiologist can offer suggestions that will point you in the right direction.
Call Eastern Shore ENT & Allergy at (410) 742-1567 for more information or to schedule an appointment.