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Choosing a Hearing Aid

The type of hearing aid device best suited to your needs will greatly depend on the nature and extent of your hearing loss and the size and shape of the outer ear and canal. Some conditions (i.e. ear drainage) may prevent a person from wearing hearing aids that block the ear or canal.

A few other factors to keep in mind as you choose your hearing aid:

  • Aesthetic considerations play a large role for some wearers, who may prefer wearing nearly invisible aids.
  • Some people prefer a hearing aid that is visible but blends with their skin tone.
  • Small hearing aids (ITCs or CICs) also have tiny batteries and those with limited dexterity or sight problems may find these difficult to operate.
  • It is a good idea to carefully examine the hearing aid's warranty, both as it applies to the device and battery life. And will the manufacturer provide a temporary replacement if your new hearing aid requires repairs?
  • Check first with your health insurance provider to find out if the device is covered.
  • Some suppliers offer trial periods to ensure the person is happy with their new hearing aid. But make sure to ask whether or not there will be a charge for this service.
  • In case of future problems, where can your new hearing aid be repaired? And will you be able to get a loaner while your hearing aid is being serviced?

Assistive listening devices are compatible with certain aids, so it is best to determine what functions will be needed to ensure that the aid has the capabilities that will suit the user both now and in the future.

Standard Analog
  • Communication often with no more than one or two people at a time
  • Excellent for listening in quiet situations
Budget Digital
  • Most communication is in quiet settings
  • Fewer types of listening situations (interacting with friends, family or quieter, leisure activities like gardening)
  • One memory/program
  • Noise canceller
Standard/Advanced Digital
  • More demanding lifestyle
  • Several, varied listening situations on a regular basis (small gatherings, church/synagogue, business meetings)
  • Circuitry flexible enough for fluctuating hearing losses
  • Directional microphone(s) to help with noise behind you
  • Digital feedback suppression (controls annoying whistling)
  • Multiple memories/programs
Premium Digital
  • Most advanced digital signal processing available
  • Circuitry can actively "read" the environment and make changes to help understand speech
  • Adaptive directionality with two microphones to help with moving noises (restaurants, classrooms, outdoor cafes)
  • Fast acting noise reduction
  • Digital feedback suppression
  • Echo-blocking to help with reverberation (e.g. large auditoriums, warehouses)
  • Records and stores listening situations for more customized programs
  • Multiple memories/programs
  • Open fitting may be an option


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