Choosing a hearing aid: 7 questions to ask yourself before buying a hearing aid
Choosing a hearing aid isn’t easy, particularly if you’re new to hearing aids. They come in all sizes, colours and technology levels.
The first factor to dictate which hearing aid to get is your unique hearing loss, which could be anything from very mild to severe. So what comes next? What do you want your personal hearing aid to be able to do – and what should it look like?
What should my hearing aid look like?
According to the World Health Organization, 466 million people worldwide suffer from disabling hearing loss. While some prefer to show off their new hearing device, others prefer that it doesn’t attract too much attention. That all depends on who you are! With hearing aids, it’s like any other piece you wear on your body, and you can choose your style, colour and size (depending on your specific hearing loss). So think about what you would like your hearing aid to say about you, or if you don’t want it to say anything at all.
Do I often go out or stay in?
Prefer a night out at a restaurant, or fancy watching TV at home? Lifestyles are so different, and that’s why hearing aids are too. If you prefer to go out, you’ll be exposed to a lot of background noise, which is often where people have most problems hearing conversation. So make sure you get a hearing aid that reduces background noise and enhances speech. Maybe that’s not so important if you’re more prone to staying in, quietly reading a book or having a conversation over tea with a friend.
Do I want to stream music or TV directly to my hearing aid?
If you’re an avid smartphone user, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy Bluetooth hearing aids that are made for connectivity. Many hearing aids today offer Bluetooth 2.4GHz connectivity (Made for iPhone) that will connect your iOS devices (Apple products) directly to your hearing aids. A solution for streaming directly from Android phones is also in the making, with hopes of it coming in 2019. Until then, you’ll have to use an assistive listening device to stream from your Android phone, and the same goes for TV or radio. In any case, you’re able to control the audio streaming through your phone if you have 2.4GHz connectivity.
Do I want to use my smartphone to manage my hearing aid?
Hearing aids today can do so much more than simply amplify sound. In fact, you can get apps for your smartphone that will help you personalise your listening experience through Artificial Intelligence, or track your activity level, for instance. These kinds of features are usually managed through your smartphone. So if you have one, and you like using it, this could be a great way to get even more features available to you on top of the automatic sound features, which vary from hearing aid to hearing aid.
Do I find it hard to hear soft sounds?
Loud sounds are not usually hard for any of us to hear, but the softer sounds like birds chirping, the rustling of a newspaper or maybe even the soft voices of small children sometimes reduce in volume when you have hearing loss. They can even disappear completely! If you miss them, there’s no doubt you should find a hearing aid with good capacity for those soft, ambient sounds.
What is my work environment like?
There’s a big difference between working at a construction site or in a theatre or an office. That said, your office could be a noisy one! Think about how your work situation is: do you need a hearing aid that reduces unwanted background noise substantially? Do you need one that captures soft sounds, or has a good handle on acoustics at big venues?
Where do I most often need to hear best?
Are you active in sports, or do you often host large lectures, go to religious services or sail on the sea? Whatever your important listening moments are, make sure you capture them with your hearing aid. Some hearing aids will offer features that are great for sports; others may be better for concerts. And some hearing aids can almost do it all! Just make sure that your new hearing aids can give you the best possible support in your favourite moments.
Now, how do I get started…?
If you haven’t yet taken a hearing test, we suggest you do. Start by taking a quick and free online test. If you do have reduced hearing, a hearing care professional can help answer your questions and find the best solution for you.
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