Selecting Hearing Aids  

Hearing aids can be purchased

  • Either direct-to-consumer, or from a licensed hearing healthcare professional (audiologist, a hearing aid dispenser, or an ear, nose, and throat physician)

  • The hearing aid that will work best for you depends on the kind and severity of hearing loss and user's lifestyle needs.

 

Type 

  • For hearing loss in both ears, two hearing aids are recommended for a more natural signal to the brain.

  • Hearing in both ears also helps understand speech and locate sound source.

  • Select based on your needs and lifestyle.

  • Price is also a key consideration because hearing aids have a large price range; being more expensive may not better suit your needs.

  • Other features to consider: Parts or services covered by warranty, estimated schedule and costs for maintenance and repair, options and upgrade opportunities, and hearing aid company’s reputation for quality and customer service.

 

Questions to ask 

  • What features would be most useful to me?

  • What is the total cost of the hearing aid? Do the benefits of newer technologies outweigh the higher costs?

  • Is there a trial period to test the hearing aids? (Most manufacturers allow a 30- to 60-day trial period during which aids can be returned for a refund.) What fees are nonrefundable if the aids are returned after the trial period?

  • How long is the warranty? Can it be extended? Does the warranty cover future maintenance and repairs?

  • Can the audiologist make adjustments and provide servicing and minor repairs? Will loaner aids be provided when repairs are needed?

  • What instruction does the audiologist provide? 

 

Adjusting to hearing aid

  • Hearing aid does not restore normal hearing; with practice the aid will increase awareness of sounds and their sources.

  • Wearing hearing aid regularly is important for adjustment and protecting from further hearing damage.

 

Becoming familiar with hearing aid’s features

  • Putting in and taking out the aid, cleaning it, identifying right and left aids, and replacing the batteries.

  • Testing in listening environments where you have problems with hearing.

  • Adjusting the aid’s volume and to programming it for sounds that are too loud or too soft.

 

Problems with adjusting

  • Hearing aid feels uncomfortable. Some individuals may find a hearing aid to be slightly uncomfortable at first. Adjust wearing times at first. 

  • Own voice sounds too loud. The “plugged-up” sensation that causes a hearing aid user’s voice to sound louder inside the head is called the occlusion effect, and it is very common for new hearing aid users. Most individuals get used to this effect over time.

  • Feedback from hearing aid. A whistling sound can be caused by a hearing aid that does not fit or work well or is clogged by earwax or fluid. Adjustments may need to be made.

  • Background noise. A hearing aid does not completely separate the sounds you want to hear from the ones you do not want to hear. Adjustments may need to be made.

  • Buzzing sound when using cell phone. Some people experience problems with radio frequency interference caused by digital cell phones. Check using cell phone when buying a new aid. 

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