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Choosing a Hearing Aid: 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Hearing Aid

Post on 21st March 2023

We understand how important it is to look after your hearing and the difference it can make on your physical and emotional well-being. If you are considering buying a hearing aid or have been recommended to try them following a hearing appointment, it can be confusing to know how to choose the right one for your needs. 

At Scrivens Opticians & Hearing Care, we have extensive experience in helping people who live with hearing loss, from diagnosis to finding the perfect hearing aid that aligns with your needs. 

Just like glasses, hearing aids can differ in style, features, benefits and cost, so we’ve put together this guide to help you. 

1. How do Hearing Aids Work? 

Hearing aids are devices that typically fit behind or in the ear and are specially designed to amplify the frequencies of sound that the wearer has difficulty hearing. Although they can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, hearing aids all work in the same way. 

Inside the hearing aid is a microphone that picks up the sound around it, such as speech, traffic noises, and music. This is then turned into digital information using microprocessors inside the hearing aid, which is sent to a receiver that acts as a tiny loudspeaker. This converts the information back into sounds that you can hear. 

As such, sounds that were previously hard to hear for the wearer are now amplified. Depending on the specification of the hearing aid, these programs can then be selected by the wearer as and when required. 

2. What are the Benefits of Hearing Aids?

Wearing hearing aids can take some adjustment, but they also have a multitude of benefits for both your physical and mental well-being. While hearing aids will not make your hearing perfect, they make certain sounds, like speech, louder and clearer reducing the overall impact of hearing loss on your life. 

Further benefits include

  • Improved social life
  • A reduction in stress
  • Slower cognitive decline

3. How can I Find the Right Hearing Aid for Me? 

If you are considering buying a hearing aid, we recommend getting the advice of a Hearing Aid Audiologist so that you can benefit from their expertise and knowledge. For the first step, book a free hearing check to determine the extent of the hearing loss and whether a full hearing check is needed. 

A full hearing assessment takes about 45 minutes to complete and includes a comprehensive assessment carried out by a Hearing Aid Audiologist. If you show signs that a hearing aid would be of benefit, your Audiologist will demonstrate the potential difference hearing aids could make for you, explain your results, and advise you on the options available. 

This step is important to finding the right hearing aid for you so that any correctable issues with your hearing are first ruled out, such as earwax or infections. 

  1. Which Hearing Aid Suits my Hearing Loss Best?

Hearing loss can fall under five different categories. Your Audiologist will help guide you to the best options, as choosing the right hearing aid will be dependent on the extent of your hearing loss. You may require stronger or more natural technology. 

  • Normal Hearing (up to 20 dBLH)
  • Mild Hearing Loss (21-40 dBHL)

You may find it slightly difficult to understand or hear quiet and soft conversations or situations with some background noise. If you are suffering from mild hearing loss, you will benefit from any type of hearing aid. 

  • Moderate Hearing Loss (41-70 dBHL)

You may experience needing higher volume levels for radio and TV, and conversations that happen with background noise are difficult to understand.  

  • Severe Hearing Loss (71-95 dBHL )

In both noisy and quiet environments, you are finding it difficult to hear group conversations and speech, with comprehension impossible without amplification. 

  • Profound Hearing Loss (above 95 dBHL )

It is extremely difficult or impossible for you to hear and understand amplified devices or speech in all environments. 

5. What Types of Hearing Aids are there?

There are a wide variety of hearing aids available that have varying benefits for people depending on their degree of hearing loss. 

In the Ear (ITE)

These are custom-made hearing aids, designed to fit into the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear instead of inside the ear canal. ITE hearing aids are a popular choice due to their discreet size and comfortable fit. 

On the Ear (OTE)

OTE hearing aids are the most commonly worn, as they are small, subtle, and available in a variety of designs and colours. They are a popular choice for first-time hearing aid wearers, as they provide a more natural sound. These are the best fit for those that have cosmetic concerns due to their discreet build and are hardly noticeable. 

Behind the Ear (BTE)

These hearing aids provide the most power and can handle moderate to profound hearing loss. The aids sit discreetly behind the ear and transfer sound directly to the ear canal via a tube and ear mould that sits within the ear. Its larger casing makes it easier for users to operate, especially if they have limited dexterity.  

6. Are Hearing Aids Uncomfortable to Wear?

Over the Ear (OTE) hearing aids are designed with a soft silicone dome that is comfortable in your ear almost immediately. Custom built hearing aids however, may take a little bit longer to get used to. To help find your best option, our Hearing Aid Audiologists will guide you through the different ranges and types of devices available, so that you can find the fit that best suits you and your hearing loss. They will also demonstrate how hearing aids work and how they amplify sound. 

After you receive your hearing aid, you will be invited back to see your Hearing Aid Audiologist, in order for them to make any adjustments based on your comments and answer any questions you may have.

7. What Features Should I Look for in a Hearing Aid?

Hearing aid technology has come a long way in recent years, with new innovations regularly occurring. Recent technology updates include Bluetooth-enabled devices, which can connect directly with TVs, Radios, and phones for seamless listening. 

There are multiple models of hearing aids available to accommodate and enhance a variety of different listening environments. While our Hearing Aid 

Audiologists will recommend hearing aids depending on your hearing levels, they will also factor in your activity levels, what types of listening environments you frequent, and your budget. 

Ask the help of the experts

At Scrivens, our Hearing Aid Audiologists can show you how to choose a hearing aid and help make the process that much easier. With a variety of styles, technologies, and capabilities in our wide range, we can accommodate your lifestyle and hearing needs. Feel free to have a look at our range or book an appointment with us today!