We at OHC care deeply about hearing and hearing loss. It is important to us to make sure that our patients and potential patients have the best information available to them about all things related to hearing and hearing loss. This includes being able to recommend people to the hearing aid companies that we perceive to be the best.
We want to spend this blog talking about what to look for when looking for a hearing aid as you decide what will be the the best hearing aids for 2017 for you. Before you can decide this, it is best to understand what all of your options are.
Hearing aids vary in model, type, size and format. The type of hearing aid you choose for yourself will depend on the level of hearing loss you have, and how much power you will need from a hearing aid. There are also many features to choose from with hearings aids, so, you will want to decide which ones are most important to you.
Hearing Aid Format: Analog or Digital?
There are two main types or formats of hearing aids to choose from: analog and digital. Each one of these types has its own benefits and drawbacks. Analog hearing aids are simple and focus simply on amplifying sounds. Digital hearing aids have the capability to analyze sound using a special digital signal processor, or “DSP” microchips. These chips enhance the sound and tailor the output to your specific hearing needs. Most new hearing aids feature digital technology; analog is becoming less common.
Minor hearing loss—which tends to be associated with age—is often best served with the use of an “in-the-canal” style aid. Moderate hearing loss requires more power, and in-the-ear models tend to be the best for this as well. If you suffer from severe to profound hearing loss, however, you’ll likely require more amplification, and that comes from the behind-the-ear and receiver-in-canal hearing aid models.
Telecoils are a feature on many hearing aids today that are helpful when it comes to making phone calls. The small copper coil is built into the device. Hearing aids with a telecoil have the ability to cut out background noise and focus on picking up sounds from the phone. There are advanced hearing aid models out there that are designed to automatically switch to telecoil when you pick up a phone while others have the capability to transmit the signal to your other ear so you can talk using one hearing aid but hear the sounds coming from the receiver with both ears. Amazing capabilities from modern hearing aids!
There are other features you’ll want to consider when considering which hearing aid is right for you. “Directional” microphones help isolate the sound you want to hear when you’re in a loud or social environment with lots of background noise. Some advanced models allow for wireless connectivity let you sync with Bluetooth-compatible devices, and other audio devices. If you wear two devices, some models have the ability to synchronize the pair so that adjustments made to one device are automatically made to the other for simple operation.
One more feature to pay attention to is a hearing aid’s IP rating (ingress protection). The IP rating refers to the degree the hearing aid is protected against dust or water.
So, as you are deciding which hearing aid is best for you in 2017, keep in mind that OHC’s favorite companies for hearing aids are Siemens, Widex, Oticon, Phonak, Resound and Starkey. Now that you have a better idea of what features you are looking for, start browsing with these companies to see what they have in these areas.
Or, call OHC today if you would like to ask us more about our thoughts and recommendations on hearing aids!