No hearing aid will replace natural hearing, but with a little information, you can find the perfect hearing aid for you. Here's how!
That's what every hearing aid consumer is looking for - the perfect hearing aid, the hearing aid the restores hearing to its natural state. But here's the thing: no hearing aid, regardless of cost, can replace natural hearing. There are trade-offs, limits to even high-tech hearing aids and, your hearing loss may be too severe to ever sound "natural" again.
However, you can find the best hearing aid for you, and there are plenty of options. Here's what to look for - or listen for.
Hearing aids come in a variety of types from completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids to BTEs (behind the ear hearing aids, and probably the type we think of when we think of hearing aids).
A CIC is inserted into the ear canal where it stays throughout the day, invisible to all. However, after a few hours, some wearers tire of the "stuffy" feeling these CICs create. Others have no trouble adapting to these discrete hearing aids. So, try a variety of hearing aids to find the right fit for you.
How natural does the hearing aid sound? A CIC, although low-profile, delivers a more processed sound since all sound waves are blocked from the outside world by the hearing aid. On the other hand, a BTE provides a more open sound with a microphone resting just outside the ear canal.
It's a personal choice and one to consider carefully. Expect a 30- to 60-day transition period when you first purchase a pair of hearing aids, but with a little patience, you'll soon forget you're wearing hearing aids.
If you're a cell-phone-Blackberry-wireless-MP3-player-laptop-digital-HDTV kind of person, wireless connectivity may be an important consideration. Many of today's better hearing aids come standard with wireless connectivity, with the hearing aid serving as the wireless receiver.
Conversely, if you still ring up "Maude" to connect you to "Barney's Hardware," don't spend the money for wireless connections you'll never use.
Ease of Use
Many higher-priced hearing aids are packed with automated features that make wearing a hearing aid a forgettable event. Automated volume control, feedback suppression - there are even hearing aids that "learn" your preferences and adjust themselves accordingly.
And for many, active, on-the-go hearing aid wearers, this convenience is essential. For others, it isn't.
Even today's economy models can be adjusted discretely using scroll wheels, presets and other manual adjustments you activate with the flip of a tiny switch. Actually, many consumers prefer having control over what they hear and how they hear it so they opt for these hearing aids that put the user in total control all of the time.
Of course you want the best hearing aid for the money.
If wireless isn't important, you can save some money there. If automated convenience isn't a critical factor, you can save even more. And, if you don't need a heavy-duty-super-durable-working-12-hours-a-day model, you can save more.
Don't plan on scuba diving? Then don't buy a waterproof hearing aid. Put the extra money into greater wearing comfort or hearing comfort.
It's all up to you. Indeed, you may try out a number of hearing aids before you find the right one for you. And even though it may not replace natural hearing, it's the perfect hearing aid for you.
It's out there. You just have to find it.