Once you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss, your audiologist will help find a solution based on a number of factors including the type and degree of your impairment, your lifestyle needs, cosmetic preferences and—of course—your budget. Hearing aids are available in a wide array of styles. Keep in mind a few important things when choosing a hearing aid in order to narrow your selection.
The first factor to consider is the severity of your hearing loss. This is measured in degrees and based on the following classification system:
|Degree of Hearing Loss||Hearing Loss Range (dB)|
|Normal||-10 to 15|
|Slight||16 to 25|
|Mild||26 to 40|
|Moderate||41 to 55|
|Moderately Severe||56 to 70|
|Severe||71 to 90|
Of equal importance is the frequency of your hearing loss. A low frequency loss is indicative of conductive hearing loss, which affects the outer and/or middle ear(s) and may be treatable with medications or surgery. High frequency loss is associated with sensorineural hearing loss, which indicates damage to the inner ear. You will want to choose a hearing aid that targets those frequencies you are having trouble with.
Functionality is another important consideration in choosing a hearing aid. You’ll need to decide which features are most important to you (e.g., Bluetooth connectivity, directional microphones, automatic volume control, etc.), a decision based largely on your particular lifestyle needs. Do you prefer quiet, intimate evenings with just a few close friends, or do you like to socialize with large groups in busy restaurants? Different hearing aids will appeal to different lifestyles.
Cosmetic preference is another factor to keep in mind. You’ll need to wear your hearing aids every day in order to get the most benefit out of them, so it’s important to choose a style you will be motivated to use on a regular basis. If you are self-conscious about your need for amplification you may want to consider an in-the-canal style hearing aid that is virtually invisible to others; if dexterity is an issue, you’ll probably want a larger hearing aid with buttons that are easy to control.
Last but not least is your budget. Hearing aids can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, and few insurance plans cover the cost of their purchase. Price is undoubtedly important, but it should not be the sole factor you base your decision on. Buying a cheap hearing aid today could end up costing you tomorrow.
The staff at Timpanogos Hearing & Balance is happy to assist you in your quest for the perfect hearing aids.