Introduction to Hearing Aids
The most common devices are hearing aids. These range from extremely tiny ones that fit completely in the ear canal, to ones that are placed behind a person’s ear and that deliver sound into the ear canal via tubing and an earmold. Some aids use just a tubing to deliver the sounds or locate a tiny loudspeaker right in the ear canal.
Hearing aids will not correct hearing like glasses correct vision. Don’t expect 20/20 hearing but they will help you hear in many situations. Your new hearing aids may require follow up visits for technical tweaks by your hearing professional.
Adjusting to hearing aids takes time and perseverance, but it is worth it. You may have a love/hate relationship with your hearing aid at first as no one is enthusiastic about getting a hearing aid, but after a while, you will not want to be without it.
All modern hearing aids are digital and thus permit many types of operations not possible with the previous generation of analog aids. These not only allow more precise corrections to the unique pattern of specific hearing losses, but also include a number of other, possibly helpful, features.
Among these features are those which provide automatic directional microphones, noise suppression circuits, automatic volume control, and the suppression of acoustical squeals. All or some of these may be helpful for some people in particular instances. New and improved features are continually being introduced. A major factor in all modern hearing aid fittings is to decide just what special feature should be included in the hearing aids.
One feature is certain. Be sure to ask the hearing professional to include a telecoil in your hearing aid. This will enable you to use hearing-aid-compatible phones and hearing assistive technology. The telecoil transforms your hearing aid into a wireless receiver and provides connectivity that helps you hear better in certain situations. A telecoil will expand the usefulness of your hearing aid.
It is common to recommend two hearing aids, one for each ear. This may be modified depending upon the nature of the hearing loss; the person’s hearing needs, or economic considerations.
Consumer’s Guide to Hearing Aid is a booklet illustrating the different styles of hearing aids and comparing different models and features. It is available for order under our Order Materials page.
Selecting a Hearing Aid
The appropriately selected hearing aid is often the most effective therapeutic measure for an individual with hearing loss. However, the process of selecting a hearing aid can sometimes seem daunting.
Obtain appropriate, well-fitted hearing aids through a certified hearing professional. Professionals who dispense hearing aids include audiologists, hearing aid specialists, and ear, nose and throat doctors. Hearing aids are necessary and an important first step in treating hearing loss. Hearing aids are not like glasses – they do not correct hearing, but they are helpful in improving hearing and quality of life.
Verify that the hearing professional is following the “best practices guidelines” as recommended by theAmerican Academy of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
What to Ask When Purchasing a Hearing Aid
Know what questions to ask you’re when purchasing hearing aids; including: questions to ask when purchasing hearing aids; what consumer protection laws are available in your state; and technologies available to make the most of your hearing aids.
There are a number of other steps that can be taken to supplement the assistance provided by well-fit hearing aids. In the initial evaluation, the hearing professional will determine specifically what further services or information would be most helpful.