Choosing the right Hearing Aid

I’ve recently began to lose my hearing, especially in my right ear. I’ve always been a glasses wearer since I was a kid but never thought I’d start to go deaf as well in my early thirties. The deterioration in my hearing has lead me to do some research into the different types of hearing aids as I really do now have to consider having one fitted. Although I’d been managing to adapt to the gradual loss of hearing, recently at has become a real issue and is affecting my confidence. You don’t want to ask every person you meet to constantly repeat themselves. Often, because you don’t want to be rude, you end up not knowing what was said and this can be embarrassing.

What is a Hearing Aid?

I suppose the basic function of a hearing aid is pretty obvious. It’s a small electronic device that picks up and amplifies sound. It can be worn inside the ear or around the outside of the ear. It was interesting to read that only around 20% of people who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them. This was according to a study carried out by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. I’m sure I fall into that category as I should really have looked into getting a hearing aid a lot sooner. Today there seems to be so many different shapes and sizes available. I suppose I still think of hearing aids as being the big ugly conspicuous contraptions of old. From what I can see though, things have definitely come a long way. Apparently you can even achieve CD quality sound with the new generation of aids.

So how exactly do Hearing Aids work?

So from what I’ve read, a hearing aid will consist of three basic parts. The receiver, microphone and amplifier. The receiver picks up sounds through the microphone which it then converts to electrical signals. These signals are then sent to the amplifier. It is from the amplifier that the power of the signals are increased. This is then sent to the ear. Sounds like a pretty simple process but from reading about peoples experiences and the huge benefits they’ve bought, they really can make a big difference to your day to day living.

Digital Hearing Aids

So the most advanced hearing aids work digitally. These kind of hearing aids have the additional bonus of computer processing power which allows them to analyse sounds and automatically adjust accordingly.

Different Styles available

I’ve been checking out the different styles available to see which kind would most suit my needs and expectations. It looks like there are a lot of different styles but obviously they each have their advantages and disadvantages. I still have ok hearing in my left ear and although my right is a lot worse than my left, I can still hear some things. The fact that I’m not anywhere near being completely deaf will have a bearing on which kind I choose. The size and shape of my ear could also be a factor. As I’ve mentioned, I’m also keen to get something that doesn’t stand out too much as I know I’ll be very conscious about wearing hearing aids. I wish it didn’t bother me but I’ve never been great with self-confidence and can remember how much of a fuss I kicked up as a child when I was first told that I’d have to wear glasses. People wear glasses now as a fashion accessory so things have definitely changed. Whereas I can never see that being the case with hearing aids, they’re definitely not such an issue these days. I’ve found that Starkey provide good information on the different types of hearing aids so you might want to take a look at their website. I’ve listed a few of the different types below but you’ll find a more detailed list on the Starkey site.



Behind-The-Ear Hearing Aids (BTE)

BTE hearing aids are a nice comfortable fit which is definitely something I’d be looking for. They nestle neatly behind the ear and provide a nice secure fit. This type are suitable to a wide range of people from mild to severe hearing impairments.

Receiver in the Canal (RIC) Hearing Aids

These combine an almost invisible behind the ear design and also benefit from high-end digital technology. You would find it hard to beat the performance and they provide some of the most natural sounds available.

Comfort and Cosmetic Hearing Aids

Comfort styles will provide you with more features and options than any of the small instruments but as far as I can see they’re a little less inconspicuous. You can’t get any more inconspicuous than cosmetic aids for obvious reasons but I’m not sure that’s the route for me to take.



My Conclusion

I’m still unsure on what exact brand I will go for but I have been looking at some BTE style aids on the internet. I would rather test a few types out to begin with so I think I’m going to order a used set first to see how they work for me before spending money on swanky new ones. If you’re the same as me and would like to do some test runs before you decide to splash out then I’d search on the following link for used hearing aids I think I’m pretty much settled on a set now so fingers crossed they’ll do the trick and give me a positive introduction into the world of hearing aids. Hope you enjoyed my article, here’s to better hearing!