When it comes to choosing a hearing aid, there are many factors you need to consider, including the style, electronics, battery life, and other features. The first step in picking the right hearing aid is determining what is wrong with your hearing.
Federal regulations prohibit anyone from selling hearing aids unless the buyer has first been evaluated by a medical doctor. If you are over 18 years old, you can waive the requirement to have an exam, however, you will not get the most benefit out of a hearing aid unless it is custom fit to your specific hearing needs. Your type of hearing loss will determine whether a hearing aid will be effective for you and which kind of aid will help you the most.
Hearing loss has two basic causes:
• Conductive hearing loss - This type of hearing loss happens when something goes wrong with the physical structures that carry sound into your ear. The problem could be with the ear canal, the eardrum, or the bones that connect to the ear drum.
• Sensorinural hearing loss – This type of hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or to the nerve that carries sound from the ear to the brain.
Hearing aids come in a variety of styles based on the size and shape of the design:
• Completely in the Canal – Molded to fit inside your ear canal. Least visible design and least likely to pick up noise from the wind because your ear shelters the hearing aid. This is also easiest to use with the telephone. Because of the small size, there are no volume controls or directional microphones, and battery life is shorter. Completely in the canal aids can help with mild to moderate hearing loss in adults.
• In the Canal – Molded to fit part of the way into the ear canal. Somewhat visible in the ear, this is easy to use with the telephone. Some custom features such as volume control are available, but the small size makes the controls difficult to use. In the canal aids may not fit well in small ears. They can help improve mild to moderate hearing loss in adults.