What should your audiologist be asking you when discussing hearing aids with you?
There are so many hearing aids on the market with lots of marketing jargon that the average person having difficulty hearing can easily become confused when selecting a hearing aid. There are in-the ear hearing aids, Behind-the ear hearing aids, Receiver -in the canal hearing aids. Which one is right for you? What is the difference? Some have noise reduction features, directional microphones, blue tooth capability, rechargeabilty. Where do you start?
Phonak Audeo P rechargeable Signia Pure X rechargeable
The first questions your audiologist should ask you are about your lifestyle.
- Are you socially active?
- Do you live alone or with other people?
- Do you work or are you retired?
- If you work, what sort of environment do you work in? Is it a quiet environment or noisy?
- Do you use a mobile phone? If so what type?
- Do you have trouble hearing the TV at the same volume as other people?
Phonak TV connector
Phonak Paradise allows for up to eight Bluetooth®-enabled devices to be paired, and two can be simultaneously connected for seamless usability of multiple devices. The easy-to-use and reliable Tap Control allows clients to accept/end calls, pause/resume streaming and access virtual assistant apps.
Once you have assessed the lifestyle you lead it then becomes easier to look at what features your hearing aids should have.
It is then important to discuss the cosmetics you require. Most people prefer to have something small and discreet. Most hearing aids are these days. For most people a hearing aid that sits behind the ear will give the best performance but in some cases there is no room or there may be a physical reason this will not work for you. Many of the in-the-ear styles still require batteries that you change every few days as having lithium ion batteries that can be charged each night make the size of the hearing aid too big. Bluetooth options to be able to use your phone with the hearing aid is also often not possible due to the size the hearing aid would need to be. This is less of a problem in behind the ear or receiver in the canal hearing aids.
So for most people a small hearing aid that sits up behind the ear is the best option.
Rechargeable options are now becoming more and more common. These hearing aids are powered by a lithium ion battery that should last between 3 and 5 years. Each night you put your hearing aids in the charger which not only charges them up ready for use the next day, it also switches your hearing aids off. For people with dexterity problems this is ideal, no more fiddly batteries that need to be changed every week and no fiddly on/off switches.
Blue tooth compatibility is also becoming far more available but it is important that the mobile phone you use is compatible. Some hearing aids such as Signia hearing aids are only directly compatible with i-phones. If you have an android phone you would also require a streamer which is often a little clip worn to directly stream the input from your phone to your hearing aids.
Phonak hearing aids directly stream to android phones without the need for another device. Looking at this before you purchase your hearing aids is important.
Hearing in background noise is the most difficult situation for a hearing impaired person. Hearing aid technology has improved immensely over the past few years so that even your entry level (cheapest) hearing aids have some ability to reduce background noise. The more expensive a hearing aid generally means there is more technology invested in the hearing aid with far greater outcomes in background noise. The more technology in a hearing aid should also mean the hearing aid should reduce the background noise automatically without the end user having to adjust anything. Mobile phones can also be used as remote controls for the hearing aids. This is why it is important to look at your lifestyle and work out how much time you spend in background noise.
Make an appointment to have your hearing checked and discuss what you need out of the wide range of hearing aids available.