When choosing a hearing aid, there are many considerations. What will it look like? What will it do? An important consideration is of course your hearing loss. Your lifestyle and listening needs also play a critical role. Your vision and dexterity also are factors – will you be able to see small disposable batteries, insert them properly, clean the small components of the hearing aid? Would a lithium ion rechargeable product be best?
Two people can have the same hearing loss, but because they live different lifestyles and have different listening needs, an audiologist may not recommend the exact same hearing aid. Rechargeable hearing aids and aids that will direct stream phone sound are now available at all technology levels (but not in every style).
When deciding which features or level of technology is best for you, consider factors such as:
- How many different listening environments am I in over the course of a week?
- Do I spend most of my time in quiet environments or at home?
- Do I go out to restaurants frequently?
- Do I attend group meetings?
- Do I go to the theater or orchestra frequently?
- Do I want the hearing aid to make adjustments automatically, or do I want to control the hearing aid?
- Will vision or dexterity challenges limit my ability to be independent with cleaning the hearing aid or changing the battery?
- Would a rechargeable hearing aid be best for me?
- Do I use my smart phone frequently? What do I use it for – texting, calls, listening to music? Would I want an app on my phone that would allow me to make my own adjustments to the hearing aid?
- What is my budget?
Generally, the more expensive the hearing aid, the more features the hearing aid has to address different types of listening conditions automatically.
To give a few examples - premium level hearing aids reduce background noise in different types of noise conditions; in an office work environment, at a cocktail party, family dinner, in the car, and at a restaurant. They can handle windy conditions: golfing, bicycling, bird watching, or hiking. Simply said, they detail automatically to different environments better than lower end technologies.
Consulting with your audiologist will help to determine some options, however, there really is no "best hearing aid" – it’s really a matter of which one is best for YOU!