If you have been experiencing signs of hearing loss, make sure that you go to an audiologist. If you need a hearing aid, your audiologist will assist by determining which one will be suitable for you, based on the degree of your hearing loss, age and other factors. Once you know your type and degree of hearing loss, you can research the type of hearing aid you need, as well as the placement, size, cost, technology and other additional features that may come with it.

How do hearing aids work?

Hearing aids do not completely restore your hearing. They aid hearing by amplifying sounds around you that in a range of pitches. Featuring microphones that pick up sounds from your surroundings and a computer chip that adjusts the sound (depending on the degree of your hearing loss), it is delivered back into the ears.

What types of hearing aids are there?

All hearing aids come with their own special features, vary in price and how they  fit into your ear. Styles vary, based on size and technological capabilities. The most common hearing aid styles are:

  • In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid: Molded to your ear canal, less visible and a small size.
  • In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid: Features volume control, a long battery life and comes in two styles, including full shell and half shell.
  • Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid: Hooks over your ear, high amplification, large hearing aid.
  • Completely in the canal (CIC) or mini CIC: Fits inside the ear canal, small batteries and size, no volume control.
  • Receiver-in-canal (RIC) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE): Less visible, is behind the ear with a small wire connecting to the speaker/receiver.
  • Open-fit hearing aid: Keeps the ear canal open, allows for amplification of high-frequency sounds and for you to hear low-frequency sounds naturally.

Additional features that hearing aids have

Depending on the type of hearing aid you choose, it may have an array of additional features that will help amplify sounds and make wearing it more comfortable and practical. Here are some of them:

  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Directional microphones
  • Noise reduction
  • Telecoils
  • Remote controls
  • Direct audio input
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Variable programming
  • Synchronization
  • Environmental noise control

The perfect hearing aid will fit comfortably, making you forget that it’s there. It takes some time to get used to hearing aids, so ensure that your audiologist walks you through how to test it out with a variety of sounds. A trial period is always a good idea for deciding which device is suitable. You will have to think about your future needs and what you want to get out of the hearing aid – it is an extra expense so you want to be happy with it. It’s always good to check whether the hearing aid has a warranty or not – just in case something goes wrong with it when you are using it.

If you realize that after a while, the hearing aid is not working for you, get in contact with your audiologist. During a follow-up appointment, he or she will advise you on which hearing aid may suit you and your needs better. It’s all about patience and getting used to the new technology, but don’t worry, soon it will feel like a part of you.