Hearing loss can impact your life, from your relationships and emotional well-being to your work. When this happens, you can rely on medical solutions that can improve your situation. Using a hearing aid, you can make a big difference, especially if you choose the right ones.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 466 million people globally have disabling hearing loss. About 34 million of these are children, and by 2050, WHO estimates the number of people with disabling hearing loss will reach more than 900 million worldwide. Hearing loss could result from complications at birth, genetic causes, chronic ear infections, exposure to excessive noise, aging, and certain infectious diseases.
How Hearing Aids Work
A hearing aid is an electronic device you wear behind or in your ear. The device makes sounds louder to help a person with hearing loss to listen and communicate fully in daily activities. With a hearing aid, one can hear in noisy and quiet situations.
The device contains three basic parts: an amplifier, a microphone, and a speaker. It receives sound through the microphone and converts the sound waves into electrical signals, transmitted to the amplifier. The amplifier boosts the signals’ power then transmits them to the ear through the speaker.
Questions to Ask When Buying a Hearing Aid
Finding the right hearing aid can be challenging because there are many styles of these devices on the market. You can use some tips provided on platforms such as AudienHearing.com that will help you pick the perfect hearing aid. Hearing aids are available in all colors, sizes, and different technology levels, so you can customize your device to include the features you need to improve your hearing.
The first thing to determine which hearing aid is right for you is your hearing loss, which could range from mild to severe. Here are helpful tips to guide you if want to choose a hearing aid that will serve your needs and feel good to wear for long periods.
- How Your Hearing Aid Should Look
While many people prefer to show off their hearing aids, others don’t want to attract attention. Your attitude towards the device can be informed by the design and size. When buying a hearing aid, choose a style, color, and size that compliments your look. Like wearing a piece of jewelry, your hearing aid could say something about you.
- How Often do You Go Out?
Your lifestyle could also be another factor to consider when choosing a hearing aid. If you go out frequently, you expect to be exposed to background noises, which compound your hearing situation. Get a hearing aid that’s equipped with the technology to cancel out background noises and enhance speech. However, if you prefer to stay in, reading or having conversations with a friend, additional features such as background noise cancellation might not be necessary.
- Do you Want to Stream Music?
As an avid smartphone user, there’s a chance you’ll want to enjoy some music through your hearing aid. A Bluetooth hearing aid allows connectivity, which means you can stream music from your TV or smartphone. You can easily control audio streaming from your smartphone if the hearing aid offers 2.4 GHz connectivity.
- What’s Your Work Environment Like?
There’s a difference between working in a quiet office and working at a construction site. Consider your work situation to know if you need a hearing aid that cancels out unwanted background noise. There are different options, including ones that capture soft sounds or can handle acoustics at a big venue.
- What Types of Sounds Do I Find Hard to Hear?
Generally, loud sounds are hard for anyone to hear, but people with hearing loss can struggle to pick softer sounds such as voices of small children or birds chirping. Sometimes the sounds can disappear completely. If you cannot easily pick soft sounds, you should find a hearing aid designed with capacity for ambient, soft sounds.
- Managing Your Hearing Aid Through Your Smartphone
Besides amplifying sound, you can install apps that you can use to personalize your listening experience. Most such apps use artificial intelligence to track your activity level and actively modify your listening experience. The list of features you can add to your listening aid is long as the technology keeps improving, making the device more than just something you need to correct your hearing problems.
Hearing Aid Styles
Hearing aids vary in size, price, the way they’re placed in the ear, and special features. Here are the common hearing aid styles you can choose from. While designers have continued to make smaller hearing aids to cater to people who want them less visible, depending on your situation, the smaller aids may not have enough power to provide an improved hearing.
- Completely In the canal (CIC) hearing aid
The completely-in-the-canal hearing aid is built to fit in your ear canal. It helps by improving mild to moderate hearing loss. Some of the benefits of this type of hearing aid include that it’s less visible and does not pick up wind noise. However, the CIC hearing aid comes with a small battery, which means a shorter life. It also often will not include special features, such as a directional microphone or volume control. And it’s susceptible to earwax clogging its speaker.
- In the canal hearing aid
The in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid is molded to fit partly in the ear canal. This improves moderate to mild hearing loss. It comes with some benefits, including that it’s less visible than larger hearing aids, and it offers features that cannot fit in the CIC aid. The downside is that its speaker gets clogged by earwax after prolonged use.
- In the ear (ITE) hearing aid
This is made in two ways – a style that fills the lower part (half shell) and one that fills the ear's bowl-shaped area (full shell). Both styles are useful for correcting mild to severe hearing loss and can be used with directional microphones. The upside of this hearing aid is that it offers features that cannot fit in smaller hearing aids. It’s easier to handle and comes with a larger battery, with some offering rechargeable batteries. However, it’s also susceptible to clogging by earwax, and it may pick wind noise. The aid is also more visible.
- Behind the ear (BTE)
A behind-the-ear aid hooks over your ear and rests behind it. It’s built with a tube that connects to a custom earpiece that sits in your ear canal. This aid is ideal for all ages and can help people with any hearing loss. It has directional microphones and may be bought with a rechargeable battery. But most are large and they may pick wind noises compared to other styles.
To find success with hearing aids, you should pick the right style and design and wear the device properly. You can customize your experience using a hearing aid by considering factors such as the amount of noise you get at your workplace or whether you want special features such as Bluetooth connectivity. Thanks to technological improvement, you can find advanced hearing aids that work perfectly in different situations.