How to Choose a Hearing Aid – The 2024 Buyers Guide

Young woman creating a cone with her hadUpdated for 2024

If you or somebody you love is struggling with hearing loss, you know just how frustrating it can be. According to the Center for Disease Control, close to 16% of all adults in the U.S. experience trouble hearing, making it twice as common as afflictions such as cancer and diabetes. In addition to its impact on communication, hearing trouble can cause difficulty in relationships and social situations. Luckily, technology has led to rapid advancements in the design of hearing aids, which allow users to improve their hearing with small, discreet devices. Many in-ear hearing aids offer imperceptible support to wearers.

Hearing aid technology has come a long way. Modern hearing aids improve, not only the general hearing ability but speech recognition as well. They are more comfortable than they used to be and many are so small that they are nearly invisible. All hearing aids are made up of the same components to pick up and carry sound from the environment to your ear, however, there are many different hearing aid options, offering various styles, sizes, and the way they are placed in your ear.

How to Choose a Hearing Aid That’s Right For You

With all of the types of hearing aids available, it can be overwhelming to figure out what kind of hearing devices are best for you. There are a few simple steps, though, that can help you understand your needs and find the best hearing aids. Depending on your personal type of hearing loss, an audiologist will help you determine which type of hearing device is the best fit for you. In order to ensure you get the right hearing aids for your lifestyle and hearing loss, follow these tips and tricks:

Get a Hearing Checkup

The first step to finding the right hearing aids is scheduling a checkup with your primary care provider. There are many different causes of hearing loss — some of which can be easily treated — so you must first rule out correctable culprits such as an ear infection or wax buildup. Your doctor will be able to identify the root cause of your hearing loss, and if treatment requires the use of hearing aids, you should proceed to the next step.

Seek a Referral to a Reputable Audiologist

If further investigation of your hearing loss is necessary, or if your doctor advises use of hearing aids, you’ll need to consult with an audiologist. If you don’t already know an audiologist, you can ask your doctor for a referral to a provider who is in-network with your insurance. An audiologist will assess your hearing and discuss options for hearing devices with you.

Ask About a Hearing Aid Trial Period

Many hearing aids come with a trial period that allows you to test their usability and comfort level and ultimately decide whether it’s the right choice for you. You should ask your audiologist about the different trial periods available with different hearing devices. Inquire about the duration of the trial period, its total cost, and whether this cost can be credited towards a purchase. Be sure to ask, too, whether a refund is available if you return the device within the trial period.

Think About Future Needs

Hearing loss generally worsens over time, so it’s important to look towards the future and anticipate what your future needs may be. One way to do this is to invest in hearing aids that allow for increased power. On average, a hearing aid will last for about five years, so it’s wise to invest in a device that can gradually increase its power over its lifetime.

Check for a Warranty on Your Hearing Aids

Finally, it’s wise to ask your audiologist about any warranty that may be available for a hearing device. Ideally, a warranty should cover parts and labor for a specified period of time after your purchase. Some warranties may even include professional service or office visits. Be sure to get all of the details on this before committing to a purchase — and if no warranty is offered by the manufacturer, ask whether the audiologist offers their own warranty on hearing devices.

The Different Hearing Aid Types

There are a few more common types of hearing aids. The least noticeable devices, known as ‘Completely-in-the-Canal’ devices, are molded to fit inside the ear canal and are designed to improve mild to moderate hearing loss in adults. Other hearing aid options are the half-shell and full-shell In-the-Ear hearing aids. These are also custom molded and fill either half or most of the lower portion of the bowl-shaped area of the outer ear. Behind-the-Ear aids hook over and rest behind the top of the ear. It’s the most visible type of hearing aid, but the styles of today are smaller and sleeker, making them much less noticeable than those of the past.

In-the-Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids

In-ear hearing aids are one of the most popular types of hearing aids on the market. They are usually made to be custom-fitted to the user by making an impression of the ear canal. The device is often matched to the user’s skin tone to further obscure its appearance. The result is a practically unnoticeable application that can provide much-needed hearing support to its wearer.

Invisible In the Canal (IIC) and Completely In the Canal (CIC)

For wearers who value discreteness above all else, aids that are placed deeper within the ear canal are ideal. Invisible in the canal (IIC) and completely in the canal (CIC) aids are both great options. Both of these types of hearing aids are installed by a medical professional and can be removed by pulling on a small string. Because of their small size, they typically don’t include manual control options and are thus best suited to individuals with only mild or moderate hearing loss.

In-the-Canal (ITC) Hearing Aids

When people think about typical heaving devices, in-the-canal models are often the image that comes to mind. These are bigger than IIC and CIC options, and they’re typically installed in the outer ear bowl’s lower portion, which makes them more visible to others. They can offer more features than some small hearing aids, though, including manual controls, directional microphones, and longer battery life. They may be the best hearing aids for individuals with more severe hearing loss.

Low-Profile Hearing Aids

Low-profile hearing aids are typically available in two styles — half-shell and full-shell designs. The former fills only half of the ear bowl, and the latter fills almost the whole ear bowl. Both styles typically offer manual controls, directional microphones, and connectivity to devices such as smartphones. Its size means that it is less discreet than smaller in-the-ear hearing aids, but its size can also be an advantage for anybody who may struggle to handle a smaller device.

Get Help Choosing a Hearing Aid in Phoenix, AZ

Hearing loss can be stressful, but finding a solution doesn’t have to be. Hearing aids are more powerful and accessible than ever, and the right device can help you reverse the impact of hearing loss on your life. MetroHearing serves clients throughout the Scottsdale, Phoenix, Glendale, and Sun City areas. We’ve been offering advanced audiology services to clients of all ages since 1980. With over 40 years of experience, you can trust us to help you find the best solution to your needs. For more information on how to buy hearing aids, reach out to us online.



Image Source: Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock