Hearing Aids: How to Choose The Right One and How It Works

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    Losing your hearing as you age can be quite a scary experience—but mild to moderate hearing loss through the years is not uncommon. Statistics show that one in three people between the ages of 65 yo 74 have hearing problems, while nearly 50% of those over 75 suffer from mild to severe hearing loss. Furthermore, more than 22% of people over 80 with hearing complications use hearing aids daily.

    People experiencing any type of hearing loss should consult with a hearing care professional right away and get the necessary support and treatment before the symptoms worsen. Hearing aids for mild hearing issues are far less expensive and much easier to maintain than the ones used for profound hearing loss.

    Factors for Choosing Hearing Aids

    Here are some factors to consider when shopping for hearing aids:

    Specs and Features

    The first thing you need to consider when shopping around for hearing aids are the devices' features and specs. There are multiple types of hearing aids. They range from small ITC devices that hide inside the ear canal to modern, high-end units that feature state-of-the-art background noise reduction. It's all about choosing one that suits your lifestyle.

    Pro Tip: Check out newer models that have a digital noise reduction feature. Having a static receiver in the ear produces a high-frequency ringing sound throughout the day is not comfortable—sometimes even headache-inducing.

    Design and Aesthetic

    Hearing aids come in all different shapes and sizes. For those who prefer having theirs hidden, consult with hearing care professionals about getting a canal ITC hearing aid. It's a small device customized to fit perfectly inside the ear canal and stay out of sight. If an ITC device is too small, try ITE or in-the-ear hearing aid. It doesn't fit completely in the canal, but it's still very discreet and is less noticeable as compared to other behind-the-ear hearing aids.

    Meanwhile, those with mild-to-severe dexterity conditions such as arthritis may have to opt for larger hearing aid styles. They're not as discreet as an ITE hearing aid, but they're much easier to grab and adjust. Although, there are some medium-sized behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids that are not noticeable at first glance, especially if you have long hair.

    Overall Hearing Experience

    Whether you're looking for small, discreet hearing aids or larger models with excellent sound processing power, the goal is to find a device that will improve your overall hearing experience. Go with a device that offers feedback reduction, volume control, directional microphones, and long battery runtimes. Also, don't forget to choose a piece that perfectly fits your ear.

    Cost Versus Budget

    Unfortunately, hearing aids are not cheap. Even the lowest quality ones that cannot properly translate sound waves or have a very short battery life can already set you back by $500, while pricey options can skyrocket to a few grand. Considering that the average senior receives only around $1,500 per month from Social Security support, these devices aren't always very accessible.

    Although, we do not recommend patronizing hearing aid manufacturers that produce low-quality devices just so you can save a few bucks. These might cost less upfront, but there's a high chance you'll have to buy another piece if they break down right away. If you don't have the necessary funds at the moment, opt for modern, high-end devices that you can pay with credit cards or monthly repayment plans.

    Looking for the best hearing aids on the market? Check out our buyer guides on senior care products and which options provide the most value for your money. 

    How Hearing Aids Work

    Different hearing aid devices have varying mechanisms and their own sound-processing technology. However, most pieces follow a three-part structure that amplifies sounds and signals as follows:

    Step 1: The hearing aid's microphone picks up the sound and converts it into a digitally recognizable signal or code.

    Step 2: Then, the digitally converted signal passes through the underlying processor where it is amplified exponentially. Note that the amplification depends on one's user settings.

    Step 3: Finally, the device processes the amplified, digitally converted sound and projects it into the wearer's ear.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the best hearing aid on the market today?

    Our extensive review on hearing aids on the market today found that the best, most cost-efficient hearing aid option is the Signia Pure Charge & Go Nx. This hearing aide're features:

    • OVP: The own voice processing (OVP) feature does not amplify high-frequency sounds, which results in the device producing a more natural sound. That way, patients won't have to worry about being unable to regulate their own voice.
    • Wireless Charging: We live in a modern, technologically advanced world where excess wires and cords are nothing but a hassle.
    • Good Value for Money: The Signia Nx is much more affordable than most modern, high-end new hearing aids on the market, but they're also of higher quality as compared to much cheaper options.

    What is the average cost of a hearing aid?

    survey by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) states that the national average cost of hearing aids in the U.S. is $2,300. Although, actual prices can vary anywhere from under $1,000 to upward of $5,000.

    Additional Resources

    Why Do Seniors Refuse to Wear Hearing Aids

    Understand why seniors refuse to wear hearing aids.

    The Population of Seniors With Hearing Loss

    Loss of hearing is a very common issue among older adults. Surveys show that one in three people aged 65 to 74 is unable to detect sounds from within a certain distance.

    Overall, people suffering from hearing loss—or any type of ear complication, for that matter—should not hesitate to consult with a medical professional. Early treatment is the key.

    Fortunately, there is an abundance of high-quality hearing aid models on the market today, ranging from classic, cost-efficient analog hearing aids to more modern digital hearing aids that feature exceptional natural sound quality. Do not limit yourself to just one or two hearing aid brands.

    Looking for more information on hearing care? Senior Strong has multiple guides on seniors like you can improve your hearing through healthy lifestyle changes and hearing aid technology. Head over to the Senior Strong website today!

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