Are you looking to invest in hearing aids but don’t know where to start? With so many options available on the market, choosing your ideal hearing aid might seem like a daunting task.
Don’t worry – we’re here to help! At Toronto Hearing Consultants, our experienced audiologists are dedicated to aiding clients in all stages of the process, from researching and purchasing to fitting and maintaining their hearing aids. In this blog post, we will guide you through 6 essential steps for selecting and getting set up with the perfect device for your lifestyle. Read on for tips from our audiologists that will get you started on your journey towards better hearing health today!
1. Understand the different types of hearing aids and find the best one for you
Hearing aids can come in a variety of styles and configurations that cater to your diverse needs and preferences. Your ideal hearing aid will depend on your lifestyle, hobbies, and much more. Here are some of the most popular designs:
One common type is the behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid, which houses its components within a casing situated behind the ear, connected to an earmold that delivers amplified sound to the ear canal.
A sleeker alternative is the receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aid, featuring a discreet wire connecting the casing to the receiver inside the ear canal, allowing for better sound quality and aesthetic appeal.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are customized to fit the user’s ear, containing all components in a single shell that fits comfortably within the outer ear.
For those seeking near-invisibility, completely-in-canal (CIC) and invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aids offer the utmost discretion with their minute designs concealed within the ear canal.
With the advancement of technology, many of these hearing aids now incorporate features like Bluetooth connectivity, smartphone apps, and rechargeable batteries, providing enhanced user experiences and improved accessibility.
2. Consider your lifestyle and budget before making a purchase
When selecting hearing aids, it is essential to consider your lifestyle and budget, as these factors play a critical role in determining the ideal device for your specific needs. Your lifestyle dictates the features and technology that would be most beneficial for you.
For example, individuals who lead an active lifestyle or participate in sports may require hearing aids with high resistance to moisture and dust. Similarly, those who attend social events or work in noisy environments might benefit from devices with advanced noise reduction and directional microphones. Moreover, consider the aesthetic preferences and ease of use. Some may prefer inconspicuous, lightweight hearing aids, while others prioritize user-friendly controls and connectivity to smartphones or other devices.
An important aspect to consider is your budget, as the costs of hearing aids can vary significantly depending on their features and technology. Basic digital hearing aids typically start around $1,000 per unit, whereas premium devices with advanced features can cost up to $3500 per unit or more. Typically, the cost of the hearing aid includes services with the audiologist for three years as well.
Medical insurance and financial assistance programs may help alleviate some expenses; however, not all policies cover hearing aid costs completely. Therefore, it is crucial to research and compare various options thoroughly while examining their compatibility with your distinct lifestyle and financial constraints. By doing so, you can ensure that you select the appropriate hearing aids that improve your quality of life without breaking the bank.
3. Learn about battery types and how to maintain your device
When considering hearing aid options, the decision between battery-operated and rechargeable models is an essential aspect to take into account, as it directly affects the user’s convenience and device performance.
Traditionally, hearing aids have relied on disposable zinc-air batteries, which usually require replacement every 5-14 days, depending on the device’s power consumption and usage patterns. However, recent advancements in battery technology have made rechargeable hearing aids increasingly popular, offering users a more environmentally friendly and user-friendly solution.
Rechargeable models typically employ lithium-ion or silver-zinc rechargeable batteries, which can provide up to 24-30 hours of use on a single charge, making them ideal for individuals seeking a hassle-free and cost-effective alternative to constantly purchasing and replacing disposable batteries. Furthermore, rechargeable hearing aids eliminate the need for small, easily misplaced battery components, thus reducing the risk of injury for young children or pets if accidentally ingested. Ultimately, assessing your personal preferences is paramount in determining the most suitable hearing aid power source.
4. Research the difference between traditional and modern hearing aids
Traditional hearing aids and modern hearing aids have undergone tremendous advancements over the years, leading to significant differences in their features, functionality, and design. One of the most apparent distinctions lies in their size and appearance.
Please refer to our Traditional Hearing AIds page and our Modern hearing aids page in order to see differences between the sizes and appearances.
Traditional hearing aids come in behind-the-ear (BTE), receiver-in-canal (RIC), and custom in the ear hearing aids, ranging from small to larger in size. Modern hearing aid designs are unique, and can be a slim fit style with a rechargeable hearing aid case, an earbud style, or an instant fit completely-in-the-canal (CIC) device that does not require an earmold impression.
The audiologist can show you the different types and styles of hearing aids available at your appointment and an informed decision can be made when choosing the style best suited for your lifestyle and cosmetic preferences.
5. Select your technology level
Once the cosmetic style has been selected, the next step is to choose your technology level. Hearing aids come in different technology levels, ranging from entry level to premium level. The chip is inside the hearing aid, and affects the functionality and sound quality of the hearing aid. Entry level hearing aids contain basic technology, and are more suited for individuals who are in simple listening environments (e.g, one-to-one conversations, and telephone calls), and are not finding themselves in noisy environments. Entry level hearing aids do not have noise processing and are not suitable for patients who lead active lifestyles, and are consistently in restaurants, meetings, and more complex listening environments.
Through a needs assessment, the best technology level to suit the patient’s lifestyle can be prescribed.
6. Working with an audiologist can help you with fitting and adjustments
Once you’ve selected your ideal hearing aids, it’s time to ensure they properly fit you and your lifestyle.
The process of fitting a hearing aid, tailored to your unique requirements, involves a comprehensive assessment of personal hearing abilities, considering factors such as the degree of hearing loss, specific frequencies affected, and your lifestyle. Utilizing their expertise and advanced hearing aid fitting software, audiologists can fine-tune the device, enhancing its performance and functionality to suit your needs effectively.
Furthermore, audiologists offer valuable guidance and support in navigating and comprehending the various features of the hearing aid, such as volume control, program settings, and maintenance procedures, thus improving the overall satisfaction and use of the aid. Post-fitting appointments also enable the audiologist to address potential issues, answer queries, and make necessary alterations, ultimately refining your hearing experience and ensuring auditory well-being.
7. Learn how to maintain and care for your hearing aids
Maintaining and taking care of hearing aids is essential to ensure their longevity and optimal functionality, and to provide consistent support for your hearing health.
Start your hearing aids care with a daily cleaning routine, using a soft, dry cloth to wipe the surfaces and a small brush or wax pick to remove any accumulated debris in the domes, earmold tubing, or microphone ports. It’s also vital to store the hearing aids in a cool and dry environment, away from direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, and any potential exposure to hazardous chemicals. Regularly checking the devices for signs of wear or corrosion, replacing filters, and changing/charging the batteries promptly when depleted can enhance their performance while ensuring that they are turned off during non-use can maximize battery life.
Moreover, it is crucial to schedule periodic professional check-ups with an audiologist, to evaluate the hearing aids’ functionality, adjust their settings (if necessary), and perform a deep-cleaning process. Additionally, the use of specialized dedicated accessories such as sweatbands can minimize moisture-related issues, especially for individuals with an active lifestyle. Practicing caution while handling the hearing aids, preventing accidental physical damage, and avoiding wearing them during water-based activities or while using topical products, like hair sprays or oils, can mitigate potential issues.
Conclusion: Toronto’s Leading Hearing Aid Audiologists
If you or a loved one is in the process of getting hearing aids, Toronto Hearing Consultants can help. Our clinic is the perfect place to browse and learn about hearing aids, and our audiologists can help answer questions on the spot! From hearing tests to hearing aid fittings and consultations, our team does it all.
Click the button below to contact us, learn more, and book your appointment today.