What to Ask Your Hearing Professional About Hearing Aids
Everyone has different needs, and if you are one of the roughly 30 million Americans aged between 25 and 75 who experience hearing loss, you might need a hearing aid. But what is a hearing aid?
A hearing aid is a small device that detects sounds and converts analog audio to digital. It then plays audio back through a small microphone in the ear. But there are many aspects to wearing a hearing aid. Some are better than others, and some aren’t suitable for certain activities.
You should consult and ask your hearing professional about hearing aids. Some things to consider are:
- Are hearing aids comfortable?
- Will I be able to do hobbies and activities?
- What of the costs?
- How long are they likely to last?
- Can they be repaired?
There are various shapes and sizes of hearing aids, and the best one for you can be dictated by your lifestyle and needs. Some hearing aids also come with better features than others. And there are hearing aids that might not be suitable for your hobbies and job.
Are Hearing Aids Comfortable?
There have been astounding leaps in hearing aid technology. While the initial concepts remain the same, there are many different types, shapes and sizes. Some are more suited to different lifestyles, preferences and requirements than others.
You should ask your hearing care provider about the different types available:
- In the canal (ITC): Recommended for moderate hearing loss. The microphone is inserted directly into the ear canal and is very small.
- In the ear (ITE): Works similar to in-ear headphones for moderate to severe hearing loss, and a small device sits inside the ear.
- Behind the ear (BTE): The traditional hearing aid, the larger processing unit sits behind the ear with an extended microphone in the ear.
Some new models can also be paired with mobile devices for access to remote features by an app.
Will I be Able to do Hobbies and Activities?
Different devices are suited to other activities. For most activities and hobbies, even BTE devices will be ok for relatively gentle movement and walking activities such as yoga, gentle exercise or everyday tasks. However, for more intensive activities such as playing a contact sport, an ITE or ITC model might be better as there is less chance of falling out.
How Long are They Likely to Last?
Depending on the model, a hearing aid should last between three and seven years. The way a hearing aid is molded can affect how long it is likely to stay. Specific parts of different models are susceptible to wear and tear. For example, BTE devices sit behind the ear, protecting them from most of the sweat and wax buildup that can affect ITE and ITC devices.
Can they be Repaired?
Dirt particles, moisture and earwax will accumulate and damage your hearing aid. A hearing care provider can clean your hearing aid of any debris. However, the hearing aid might require more than simple cleaning in some circumstances and might need re-casing or replacement.