Hearing aids vary in model, type, size and format. The type of aid you choose largely depends on the amount of hearing loss you're experiencing, the amount of power you need and the features you desire.
There are two main formats of hearing aids you can choose from: analog and digital, and each one has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Analog versions are basic and focus simply on amplifying sounds. Digital hearing aids analyze sound using special digital signal processor, or DSP, microchips. These chips enhance the sound and tailor the output to your specific hearing needs. Most new hearing aids feature digital technology; analog is becoming less common.
Size and Type
The type of hearing aid you need depends on the nature and severity of your hearing loss. Minor hearing loss, namely that associated with age, is often improved with the use of an in-the-canal aid. Moderate loss requires more power, and in-the-ear models can help improve hearing quality. If you suffer from severe to profound hearing loss, though, you'll need more amplification, and that comes from the behind-the-ear and receiver-in-canal hearing aid models.
Telecoils are a feature on many hearing aids today that make talking on the telephone much easier. It is a small copper coil built into the cochlear implant. Hearing aids with a telecoil filter out background noise and only pick up sounds from the telephone receiver. Some advanced hearing aid models automatically switch to telecoil when you pick up a phone while others transmit the signal to your other ear so you can talk using one hearing aid but hear the sounds coming from the receiver with both ears. If you work in a profession where you use the telephone frequently, you'll want to look for an aid with a telecoil option.
There are additional features you'll want to consider when purchasing a hearing aid. Directional microphones help pick up sound when you're in a social environment with lots of background noise. Wireless connectivity is available on advanced models and lets you sync to Bluetooth-compatible devices, such as your cellphone or television, while direct audio input lets you connect your hearing aid to audio devices. If you wear two devices, some models let you synchronize the pair so that adjustments made to one device are automatically made to the other for simple operation. One other feature you want to pay attention to is a hearing aid's ingress protection or IP rating. The IP rating refers to the degree the hearing aid is protected against dust or water.
Before purchasing a hearing aid, it's important to compare the features of several models to ensure the best fit for your needs and lifestyle. Also look for one with a trial period so you can return it if it's not working for you; otherwise, you may be stuck with a hearing aid you do not want.
Colin Eaton will personally explain in more detail if you need more information what would suit you. Call in, call or use the contact form to arrange a 1-1 appointment.