When most people think of picking hearing aids, they typically think of choosing ones that fit the contours and shape of their ears. However, the world of hearing aids is much larger! There are many hearing aid options to suit your lifestyle.
Modern hearing aids are designed to boost the quality of life for those wearing them, which means there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Learning how to choose the right hearing aids for your lifestyle could mean the difference between leading a rich life with a comfortable, adaptable hearing aid—or wishing you’d chosen something else.
What to Look for When Picking Hearing Aids
After you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss and consulted with your audiologist, you’ll begin the process of choosing the hearing aids that are right for you. To make your decision, you’ll need to consider the features and fit of your ideal model, as well as how it complements your lifestyle.
Hearing Aid Features and Functionality
Before you choose a hearing aid model, consider features that might improve your quality of life.
Most hearing aids have some form of noise reduction. However, if you’re easily overwhelmed or distracted by background noise, you might opt for a hearing aid that reduces high levels of sound.
While some patients don’t mind the occasional battery switch, others wish there were a way to keep the same battery long-term. Rechargeable hearing aids allow you to do just that—but make sure you’re always using the correct charging cord to avoid fire hazards.
If you’re a music fan or a frequent podcast enjoyer, consider hearing aids with wireless connectivity. At Amdahl Hearing, we often get requests for Bluetooth connectivity from our patients, as being able to connect directly to devices can increase the clarity of sound.
Believe it or not, there are hearing aids that can be preprogrammed with multiple settings. For example, if you wanted to have background noise heavily reduced during church service but increased on a nature walk, you might choose a hearing aid with variable programming.
Types of Hearing Aids
In addition to the different features available when picking hearing aids, you should also consider the type of hearing aid. The model you choose will determine how the hearing aid sits in your ear, as well as the type of features that are compatible.
Invisible in Canal (IIC)
This type of hearing aid is the smallest and least visible, molded to fit directly into your ear canal. IIC hearing aids improve mild to moderate hearing loss.
Completely in Canal (CIC)
Ideal for mild to moderate hearing loss, this style is virtually undetectable because it sits inside your ear canal. As a tradeoff for discreetness, CIC hearing aids can be more susceptible to being clogged by earwax.
In the Canal (ITC)
This hearing aid is custom molded to fit partially in the ear canal and is for mild to moderate hearing loss. It’s more visible than CIC hearing aids but less visible than larger styles.
In the Ear (ITE)
There are two styles of custom-made in-the-ear aids; one fills most of the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear and the other only fills the lower part. Both are appropriate for mild to severe hearing loss. Due to their size, they often offer more technical features.
Behind the Ear (BTE)
These hearing aids hook over and rest behind your ear. A tube connects the hearing aid to an ear mold that fits in your ear canal. Behind-the-ear hearing aids can be used for people of all ages and any type of hearing loss.
Receiver in Canal (RIC)
This style is similar to behind-the-ear hearing aids, with a speaker inside the ear canal. However, rather than a tube connecting to the ear mold, RICs use a tiny wire.
Lifestyle Considerations for Choosing the Right Hearing Aid
When our clients come to us to learn how to choose the right hearing aids, we ask them to describe their lifestyle so we can give them options that will fit. This includes things like their physical activity levels and the frequency of background noise.
For Active Lifestyles
You may fall under the “active lifestyle” category if you often use video and audio equipment, eat at noisy restaurants, attend sporting events, have a demanding career, or attend frequent group activities.
Those with an active lifestyle often engage in vigorous physical activity, like hiking, cycling, or running. You’ll need to ensure the type of hearing aid you choose suits your favored exercise and stays firmly in your ear.
For Casual Lifestyles
Those who lead a casual lifestyle experience moderate background noise. If you fall into this category, you might experience background noise when watching television, attending small meetings or family gatherings, driving, or going to church. People with this lifestyle may engage in more casual exercise, like walking or biking.
For Quiet Lifestyles
Some of our patients lead quiet lives and don’t have a need for high levels of noise reduction. You might watch television occasionally or infrequently, go on quiet shopping trips, have one-on-one visitors, and listen to a limited amount of music. These patients often have little need for super-technical hearing aids.
Need Help Choosing a Hearing Aid?
At Amdahl Hearing, we have a long history of helping our patients choose the right hearing aid for their lifestyle. When you’re ready to increase your hearing and quality of life, contact us for a hearing aid consultation.