Choosing the perfect hearing aid style can feel overwhelming with all the options available today. You need the right one to ensure you wear the device regularly and get the most benefit from it. The following tips will help you select the hearing aid style that’s right for your needs.
Level of Hearing Loss
Consider your level of hearing loss and what types of sounds you struggle with. This information will be needed when choosing a style of hearing aids. Mild to moderate hearing loss often does well with small behind-the-ear (BTE) or receiver-in-canal (RIC) styles. For more significant hearing loss, power BTEs provide amplification while completely-in-canal (CIC) aids are nearly invisible. Your audiologist can recommend the power and features you need based on your audiogram results.
Size and Versatility
Think about size and visibility. Small aids like RICs with slim tubes and CICs that fit entirely in the ear are discreet options. BTEs come in colors to blend with hair and skin tones for less visibility. If visibility isn’t a concern, larger styles like power BTEs can provide easy access to controls.
Comfort is also key. The aids shouldn’t feel painful or awkward to wear. CICs and RICs are lightweight but can feel snug. BTEs sit comfortably behind the ear. Getting custom ear molds for any style may improve comfort. Your audiologist can suggest modifications like vents if aids are uncomfortably occluded.
Ease of Use
Consider dexterity and ease of use based on abilities. Smaller aids in the ear can be difficult to handle and adjust for those with arthritis or reduced manual dexterity. BTEs often have easy-access controls and no fine-tuning needed. Some have connectivity features to adjust settings remotely through smartphones or Bluetooth.
Think about your lifestyle and hobbies. For active lifestyles, BTEs stay put better when sweating versus custom styles. Waterproof or water-resistant options are ideal for swimmers and those in humid climates. Look for durable, sturdy aids if you’ll be around dirt and dust. Your audiologist can recommend appropriate protection levels and specialty sports clips.
With many types of hearing aids now available, from almost invisible IICs (invisible-in-canal) to feature-packed power BTEs, there are many possibilities for finding the perfect match. Keep your hearing needs, dexterity, lifestyle, and cosmetic preferences in mind when consulting with a hearing specialist.
Making New Connections
Additionally, consider connecting with others who also wear hearing aids. Hearing aid support groups and online forums can provide insights into real-world experiences with different styles and models. Ask about battery life, connectivity, comfort over extended wear, and ease of control for specific options you’re considering. Peer experiences combined with expert audiologist recommendations can guide you to the best choice.
An Adjustment Period
It’s also important to give your hearing aids time after initially starting to wear them. Your brain needs to adjust to processing amplified sound again, so the experience may feel awkward at first. Work closely with your audiologist during the trial period to optimize settings and features for your needs. Fine-tune the volume, directionality, and noise reduction as you get accustomed to your new aids. With patience and collaboration with an audiologist, you’ll soon be amazed at what you’ve been missing.
With the right hearing aid style matched to your personal needs and lifestyle, it is easy to once again connect to conversations, music, and activities you love. A small investment in finding the perfect fit leads to an improved quality of life you’ll wonder how you ever lived without.