What To Consider When Buying The Best Hearing Aids?Published On: 14th October 2018
Last Updated On: 15th October 2018
We, humans, are born with a number of blessings that are often overseen. These blessings are only realized when we are facing problems or difficulties, especially with health. All of the five senses that were developed through conception are gifts that we take for granted every day.
It will only affect an individual gravely when either it is abruptly gone or slowly degenerating. We only realize the value when we start to lose any of the senses like vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch when its already gone.
The hearing is one of the most essential and vital sensory organs of the nervous system which help us function in our daily lives. Unfortunately, there are some people who are deprived of hearing at birth or lose it along the course of life.
There is a great number of people globally who are either deaf or have hearing impairments. Hearing problems restrain a person from not just from listening but there is also a great problem with balance and sound perception.
Though hearing loss is a major defect that cannot be corrected in any way, however, there is a solution that calls for the best hearing aids what the market can offer. Hearing aids is perhaps the way through which a person can get help and assist in hearing. Since this is a way in which a person can be assisted in hearing loss, apparently, it is estimated that an average person waits for a period of 10 years before getting help from an audiologist and use hearing aids.
Oftentimes, people who suffer from loss of hearing deny the fact that they need help. Due to a negative perception of hearing impairment and deafness, people always refrain from using such a device. Self-preservation always gets in the way when dealing with outward impairment instead of considering the kind of ease and help a person can acquire using special devices for their needs.
What are hearing aids and how it works?
Hearing aids are small electronic devices that simply assist with hearing impairment. It helps in making sounds such as speech and environment noise audible thus, making the hearing impaired person capable of proper communication.
Hearing devices are worn either from inside or behind the ear. It consists of 3 parts such as the microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. When a hearing is active, it receives sounds through the microphone which then converts these sound waves to electric signals and is transferred to the amplifier.
The amplifier then sends these signals to the speaker helping send these waves to the brain, allowing the hearing impaired person to perceive the sound.
Usually, hearing aids are useful to those who have lost their hearing due to damage cells in the inner ear which are called hair cells. The damage to the hair cells can result due to certain diseases, accidents, aging or injuries from loud noises.
Hearing aids make hearing possible by magnifying the sound waves that enter to the ear. The remaining hair cells of a person detect the amplified sound waves and change them into neural signals and passes to the brain. It depends on the damage of the hair cells how much amplification of the hearing aids is needed. However, if the hair cells in the ear are incredibly damaged even the greatest amplification of the hearing aids will be unable to provide sounds to the person.
Things to consider before buying hearing aids:
if you are a person who has defeated all odds and decided to buy a hearing device, then there are many factors that you should consider before actually purchasing the hearing aids.
These factors include the functionality, quality, type, style, dexterity and the amount of amplification of hearing aids you need in order to better understand different sounds. Below are some aspects that you need to take into account before buying the best hearing aids.
One of the most essential aspect to consider when buying hearing aids is the directional system of the microphones of hearing aids. Directionality is the capability of the microphones through which they understand speech in noise by focusing on the specific sound source around a person. The better the directional system of the device is, the better the sounds it produces to the user.
There are 3 types of directional systems; adaptive, fixed and dynamic.
- Adaptive – the weakest among the 3 directional system. It has no focus in which it captures all the noise around the environment
- Fixed – this system focuses only on a single sound
- Dynamic – with this directional system, it is made to shift the focus from the source of sounds all around you to a specific sound.
- Differentiating noise and sound
Another factor that you can consider as the best hearing aid is its ability to differentiate between a noise and a sound. Hearing aids have certain kind of noise algorithms which reduces the noise and distinguish an incoming speech from the noise intensity.
- Financial plans:
Hearing aids can be really expensive. The prices range from $700 to $3000 which can be really heavy on your financial budget. Due to this reason, the most asked question is, are hearing aids covered by Medicare? The answer to which is Medicare or other payers does not cover the costs of hearing aids.
People who are hearing impaired often consider if hearing aids covered by Medicare and unfortunately, Medicare does not provide assistance in the expenses of hearing aids. The only way Medicare or other medical insurance will cover the cost is if the premium is higher.
Though hearing aids may be covered by Medicare in some instance, this is still a big question. There are other financing programs that can help in terms of financial plan where it can assist you to acquire hearing aids. Vocational rehabilitation, grants and charitable organizations are also some of the options to consider.
You can search for these programs, moreover your healthcare professional will also provide you with some alternatives to pay for the expenses of hearing aids while remaining within your budget.
- Styles of hearing aids
There are various types and styles of hearing aids. Before buying hearing aids you can choose from the various types depending on your personal preference, amount of hearing loss, comfort, dexterity and quality. The types include RIC which is worn on the back of the ear and the speaker is in the ear canal. BTE which sends the sound to the ear through a tube and CIC/IIC/ITE are custom built to fit in the ear.
- Hearing test
A hearing test is necessary before buying the hearing aids. Hearing tests are often free and do not cost anything except for your time and patience. Before buying hearing aids, make sure your ears are efficiently checked and evaluated by a professional audiologist or and ENT.
It is important that you have good and real expectations for your hearing aids. If there are people who claim that their hearing is cured by a particular hearing aid. Stop believing this! No matter how good the quality of a hearing aid is, it cannot completely cure any type of hearing loss.
It is also essential to understand that even with the latest technology, hearing aids cannot provide a natural hearing. Natural hearing sometimes becomes difficult in very noisy environments, so expecting hearing aids to provide you with natural hearing is also unrealistic.
- Battery size
The size of the hearing aids and batteries should also be considered before buying. Small batteries come with small hearing aids and vice versa. Smaller batteries call for the frequent replacement which means smaller batteries die between 3 to 17 days.
If you are disturbed about how often you have to change the batteries then you must seek help from a healthcare provider. Larger batteries will be advantageous if changing batteries every other day is difficult for you. The batteries of hearing aids are in sizes 10, 13, 312 and 675.
- Feedback Control
The hearing aids that you buy must be equipped with the best feedback control so that you can enjoy hearing. Feedback is the loud squeal that you hear when you place the microphone too close to the speaker.
Feedback is one of the major problems that people with hear loss deal with. All hearing aids have feedback control system installed in it but some have better feedback control than the others.
- Hearing aids connectivity
As today most of the devices can be connected to every other mobile device, tv, speakers, and more around us. Some hearing aids also have the ability to connect with mobile phones or laptops through Bluetooth. Because of this quality you can now control your hearing aids by your smartphones or other software and applications based devices to adjust patterns of volume and on/off cycles.
- Being positive
Though going through hearing loss may test your patience and strength, being positive can lead you through this struggle in your life. Before buying a hearing aid, try to be positive and motivated about the outcome. First, because it will provide assistance in your hearing which will provide a better line of communication. Second, it will make you enjoy the sound that the environment is giving you.
Your doctor (e.g. ENT, audiologist) will be going with you throughout the whole process. They are there to provide every possible help for you to successfully give you the right hearing aids for your needs.
However, you should also make an effort and show a willingness to become flexible in wearing hearing aids. Don’t miss any follow-up appointments and provide valuable feedback. All these are necessary for the hearing device to fully work for you