There are a large number of hearing aids and hearing aid brands available today, each with a wide variety of features, styles, sizes and prices. Selecting the right hearing aid for you depends on several factors, including the degree and affected frequencies of your hearing loss, personal preferences for style and size, the features that will work best for your lifestyle, and your budget. It is our hope that this web page will help you to get started on the road to better hearing.
Once you’ve done a little research on your own, the next step is to have your hearing evaluated by an audiologist. The audiologist will check your ability to hear soft sounds from very low frequencies (bass sounds) to very high frequencies (treble sounds). In addition, the audiologist will test your word understanding ability, check your ear canal and eardrum for wax or other abnormalities, and determine your tolerance for loud sounds. The results of the audiologic evaluation will determine the type and severity of hearing loss (i.e., nerve loss vs. conductive loss). If a medical condition is found, the audiologist will refer you to your physician or may recommend that you see an otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat physican). If hearing loss is present and no medical condition exists, the audiologist may recommend a hearing aid or aids.
When choosing your audiologist, consider the following factors:
- Years of experience. Ask where and when the audiologist received his or her audiology degree. In addition, how long have they been in business at their present location?
- Is there a charge for the hearing evaluation? Some audiologists will charge for the test and others will not charge you for the test. The testing is determined by FDA and state standards and should be no different, regardless of whether you pay for the test or it is free. Your health insurance may pay for all or part of the hearing evaluation.
- Convenience. What are the office hours, how long does it typically take to get an appointment and is the office conveniently located to your home or workplace?
- Hearing aid brands. Some hearing professionals offer a “private label” whereas others offer multiple brands of hearing aids. The private labeled products are typically made by one of 4 or 5 major manufacturers, and may be “locked” meaning that you could be limited to a small number of offices that can program your hearing aids. An office that carries multiple product lines should offer more product choices, the latest technology, and more competitive prices.