Welcome to the Hearing Aids Center!
If you’re looking for your first hearing aid, allow us to congratulate you! Deciding on getting a hearing aid is a big decision – one that will improve your life exponentially – and one that deserves to be appreciated.
So now that you’ve taken the first and most important step – the decision to get hearing aids of your own – where do you go from here? We’re here to help with that seemingly daunting decision.
Even though the power of the written word is one of the world’s greatest, there are some cases where you just can’t beat a conversation. To have one such conversation, you should fill out our quick and free online form. The form will help you arrange a free consultation with a hearing specialist near you.
What are hearing aids?
In a way, everyone knows what hearing aids are – they’re things that people put into their ears to improve their hearing. But what are they? If you were to assume they were devices that simply made incoming noise louder, then you’d be selling them short.
A device that simple is known as a PSAP, or “personal sound amplification product.” These certainly make sound louder, but could also damage your hearing further. They’re commonly found in pharmacies and for purchase online.
An actual hearing aid is a device that receives sound and digitally converts it into an appropriate level for the wearer.
Rather than a one-size-fits-all, a hearing aid is ideally customized to fit the individual wearing it. For example, if you have moderate hearing loss and struggle to hear high frequency sounds (like s, f, sh, and th), then your hearing aid would be able to slightly increase the volume of incoming sound, with a stronger emphasis on higher frequency sound.
Hearing aid costs
We won’t mince words – hearing aids are expensive. If you’ve found hearing aids being sold online for numbers in the low triple figures, don’t jump at the chance to grab a hot deal. You’ve likely found yourself a PSAP – one of the aforementioned subpar pieces of hearing technology.
Hearing aids toe the line between medical device and luxury product. You can get a nice hearing aid that does the job for around $2,000, but if you want all the nice bells and whistles that come with a top-tier hearing aid, you’ll be looking at a purchase of around $3,500 – and that’s only for a single hearing aid!
It’s certainly worth the cost though, as all the additional features will be able to drastically improve your quality of life. To hear about the various add-ons you can attach to your hearing aid, there is no better source than a trusted and qualified hearing specialist. Remember, you can always arrange a free consultation with a hearing specialist using our quick and free online form.
Types of hearing aids
There are a ton of different kinds of hearing aids. They can be broken down into various categories, the first of which is rechargeable vs battery-powered.
This is a pretty obvious one – rechargeable hearing aids can be plugged into the wall or your computer and juiced up overnight. They may even come with a charging case, so if they ever run out on the go, you have a quick back up plan.
Battery-powered hearing aids, however, need a steady flow of disposable batteries in order to do their job. Rechargeable hearing aids generally cost more, but are a single purchase. Battery-powered hearing aids need their battery reserves to be constantly replenished, so it’s all about which kind better suits your lifestyle.
Other distinctions are the various add-ons we mentioned earlier. These could be bluetooth capabilities (which are pretty common nowadays) or a tinnitus canceller. Again, your lifestyle may or may not call for these individual features, so it’s always best to save where you can and elect not to include them if possible.
Finally, the biggest distinction is the kind of shell your hearing aid will be housed in. This determines the shape and size of your hearing aids. The two main categories here are behind-the-ear (BTE), and in-the-ear (ITE).
The names are pretty self-explanatory, but can be further broken down into subcategories, like receiver-in-the-ear (RITE), in-the-canal (ITC), receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) or invisible-in-the-canal (IIC). It’s all very self-explanatory, and every shape has its place in the realm of hearing aids – a place that will be dictated primarily by the severity of your hearing loss.
Best hearing aids for different types of hearing loss
Hearing loss comes on a sliding scale:
- Mild – hearing loss generally classified in the 20-40 dB hearing threshold range, meaning a person suffering from mild hearing loss can only start hearing noise once it rises above 20-40 decibels.
- Moderate – A person with moderate hearing loss has difficulty hearing normal conversation, especially amidst background noise. It is classified in the 41-55 dB hearing threshold range.
- Severe – Severe hearing loss describes the severity of hearing loss in which a person has difficulty hearing most sounds in the environment and can not hear normal conversational speech. A severe hearing loss is classified in the 71-90 dB range.
- Profound – A profound hearing loss describes the severity of hearing loss in which a person can not hear most sounds. A profound hearing loss is classified above the 90 decibel range. It is considered to be deafness.
If you click on those links above, you’ll be directed to the best hearing aid companies for each of the categories.
Digital hearing aids
If you've looked around enough, you might have come across the phrase “digital hearing aid.” You might be wondering what this means, and what the difference is between digital and analog.
Well, if we're being honest, you don't really need to worry about analog hearing aids – they’re pretty much obsolete. And when we say “pretty much obsolete,” we really mean “entirely antiquated.”
Analog hearing aids amplify all sounds equally – they consist of a simple microphone and speaker structure that takes in all sound and relays it to the user’s ear.
Digital hearing aids use digital signal processing (DSP), which turns incoming sound into varying voltages, or digital code, in real time. This code is processed mathematically with a high-speech processor according to instructions written to the chip.
This means that digital hearing aids can effectively be customized for each user, amplifying specific sounds and frequencies based on each user’s respective hearing loss.
It’s not a “digital clock vs analog clock” or “stairs vs elevator” situation – digital hearing aids are objectively better than analog hearing aids, since they can be tailored to the individual user. While there are a lot of choices to make when choosing a hearing aid, analog vs digital isn’t one of them.
Hearing aids overall
So there you have it – a fairly comprehensive overview of hearing aids. If we went as in depth as we could, this page would still be loading. There’s always more to know, and more questions to be answered.
If you have any questions yourself, the best place to do it would be at a consultation with a hearing specialist. You can arrange one such consultation using the form found through this link. Happy hearing!