[adapted from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)]
Today there are many different types and styles of hearing aids available. The one that will work best for you will depend on many factors, including the severity of your hearing loss and the listening situations you find yourself on a daily basis. The best way to determine the best hearing aid for you is to have your hearing tested by a licensed audiologist and discuss the options available to you.
If you have a hearing loss in both of your ears, two hearing aids are generally recommended because two aids provide a more natural signal to the brain. Hearing in both ears also will help you understand speech and locate where the sound is coming from.
You and your audiologist should select a hearing aid that best suits your needs and lifestyle. Price is also a key consideration because hearing aids range from hundreds to several thousand dollars. Similar to other equipment purchases, style and features affect cost. However, don’t use price alone to determine the best hearing aid for you. Just because one hearing aid is more expensive than another does not necessarily mean that it will better suit your needs.
All hearing aids contain the same parts to carry sound from the environment into your ear. However, hearing aids do come in a number of styles, which differ in size and the way they are placed in your ear. Some are small enough to fit inside your ear canal, making them almost invisible. Others fit partially in your ear canal. Generally, the smaller a hearing aid is, the less powerful it is, the shorter its battery life and the more it'll cost.
A hearing aid will not restore your normal hearing. With practice, however, a hearing aid will increase your awareness of sounds and their sources. You will want to wear your hearing aid regularly, so select one that is convenient and easy for you to use. Other features to consider include parts or services covered by the warranty, estimated schedule and costs for maintenance and repair, options and upgrade opportunities, and the hearing aid company’s reputation for quality and customer service.
For more information, check out these links:
- What is the Best Hearing Aid for You? from the Better Hearing Institute
- Hearing Aid Buying Guide from Consumer Reports
- Overview of Hearing Aids from American Speech-Language-Hearing Association