Buying a hearing aid? Here’s what you need to know
By Rex Banks, Au.D. Reg. CASLPO
Doctor of Audiology/Chief Audiologist
Director, Hearing Healthcare
Buying a hearing aid can be stressful. Between sorting through the many advertisements and coming to terms with the high cost of hearing aids, the entire process can be confusing and overwhelming. But fear not: in this article, we will provide some guidance and advice to help you feel better prepared.
Hearing aid evaluation
During the hearing aid evaluation, a CHS audiologist will walk you through quite a bit of information, helping you understand your hearing test (called an audiogram) and answering questions about your overall communication ability. Don’t be shy in this first step: understanding the audiogram is an important starting point when purchasing hearing aids.
Sizes and types of hearing aids
After explaining your audiogram, our audiologist will review the various sizes and styles of hearing aids to help determine which ones are right for you. Details may include your colour preference, the battery type, volume control issues, options for using the hearing aid with the telephone, remote control issues (if the hearing aid comes with one), and information on any other buttons or switches.
At this point, you will be asked specific questions about your communication abilities, lifestyle and what you want the hearing aids to accomplish in terms of your listening needs.
Depending on your overall communication goals, our audiologist will make some recommendations around the level of technology that will best suit your needs. Hearing aid technology has come a long way. Many hearing aids today have different functions and options related to digital signal processing, feedback cancellation, noise reduction, directional microphones, listening programs, telephone options, wireless connectivity and Bluetooth accessories – all to assist in your hearing.
Price and payment
In a perfect world, cost wouldn’t be an issue, but like many other products on the market, hearing aids have different price points as well. There are three levels of technology: entry, mid-range and advanced. Based on all of the information you’ve discussed with the audiologist, he/she will advise you on which level of technology would work best for you. Many people fall into the entry or mid-range device category for price and technology. However, if you have a particularly busy lifestyle with high demands on communication based on work, school, recreational or social interactions, then advanced technology may be recommended.
How to be successful
There are three important factors to being successful in buying a hearing aid:
1) Be motivated and open to addressing your communication challenges.
2) Find the right hearing aid match with all the appropriate features necessary to address your desired communication outcome.
3) Find an audiologist at CHS you connect with and trust, one who is truly listening to what you want and has the tools to help you.
If all three of these things fall into place, your hearing aid purchasing experience should run smoothly and set the stage for a positive outcome.