A hearing aid is a small device that fits in, or behind, the ear to improve the quality and volume of sounds the wearer hears. Finding the best hearing aid will depend largely on the wearer's preferences and needs. Common factors to consider when finding the right hearing aid include style, technology, optional features, and price.
There are several styles of hearing aids, ranging from those with a plastic case that rests behind the ear; types that fit into the outer ear; and hearing aids that fit completely inside the ear. For cosmetic reasons, the wearer may prefer a hearing aid that fits completely inside the ear canal. In most cases, however, he or she will work with his or her doctor or audiologist to determine which is the best hearing aid for the specific type of hearing loss.
All hearing aids work in essentially the same way — by using a microphone to amplify sounds. The best hearing aids now rely on digital technology. With these aids, sounds are transmitted to the microphone which then converts it to an electric signal. The sound is amplified and sent to the hearing aid speaker, where it is changed back to sound waves. The sound waves are then sent to the wearer’s inner ear.
Hearing aids are used by individuals who suffer mild to severe hearing loss. Even with the best hearing aid, however, the wearer may still have trouble discerning individual conversations when in a loud venue. Hearing aid technology can be enhanced with assistive devices such as telephone adapters, directional microphones, remote controls, and blue tooth technology.
Price may figure into the determination on which is the best hearing aid. Hearing aids can be relatively expensive, and the best hearing aids are likely to cost the most. Something to keep in mind is the smaller the device, the less powerful it is, but the higher the price tag it typically carries. Hearing aids and assistive devices are not usually covered by health insurance, meaning individuals usually need to pay for them out-of-pocket.
Once you’ve found the best hearing aid for your situation, ask whether the device comes with a warranty. Find out whether there is a trial period for your purchase to make certain the style you’ve chosen truly is the best hearing aid for your needs. Even the best hearing aid will not restore hearing to its normal levels, but it will improve sound quality. Give yourself time to adjust to your new device. The more often you use it and wear it, the more quickly you’ll become accustomed to it.