Even if you know hearing aids will improve your hearing, it can be a daunting to make the decision to purchase them. With many different styles and types, the choices appear endless. When it comes to choosing the right hearing aid, you need some expert advice for the best price and fit. A visit to your audiologist will send you on the right path to finding the perfect units for you.

Understanding what a hearing aid does

Hearing aids amplify sounds, making it easier to hear. Hearing aids cannot reverse hearing loss. Tiny microphones analyze sound and turn it into digital audio. That sound is sent to the inner ear and then to your brain through small speakers in the hearing aids. It takes time to adjust to wearing hearing aids, so having a positive attitude and giving yourself time to adjust to new sounds is important.

Types of hearing aids

There are many styles of hearing aids available. Your choice depends on your budget, lifestyle and degree of hearing loss.

Invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aids are very small and just as the name implies, sit inside the ear canal and are virtually undetectable. This style works well for someone with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. Because they are so small, they sometimes provide fewer options than larger hearing aids, but this can be discussed with your audiologist.

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are partially visible in the ear canal. These offer a custom fit and work with mild-to-severe hearing loss. ITC hearing aids generally offer a few more options, such as directional microphones.

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are custom-fit to the outer portion of your ear. They are a bit larger than ITC hearing aids and offer options such as volume controls and directional microphones. Because of their size, they usually have a longer battery life. These units work with mild-to-severe hearing loss.

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids sit behind the ear and hook over the top. A tube connects the hearing aid to an earpiece that is inserted into the ear canal. These units provide greater amplification and can be used for any type of hearing loss.

Special features

Technological advances allow hearing aids to adapt to improve hearing in several ways. Some people may need directional microphones to help hear in noisier situations, such as a restaurant or a party. Another feature makes the units better compatible with telephones. There’s also the option of Bluetooth, allowing the hearing aids to directly connect to a cell phone or the television. Some styles of hearing aids offer rechargeable batteries.

When it comes to choosing the right hearing aids, there’s more to it than just picking a style. Beware of misleading advertisements that make big promises. See an audiologist to determine the cause of your hearing loss. Your audiologist can best assist you in determining what type of hearing aid will help you the most.