Modern hearing aids come in a variety of styles and with various features. Like purchasing a computer or even a car, which one you purchase depends on your lifestyle needs and budget; also, you should take your audiologist’s recommendation into account. The various features hearing aids come with assist with different things, but they also inflate or deflate the price of the aids. The more basic your hearing aids are, the lower the cost, but this could also mean sacrificing the quality of hearing. Today we will guide you through the process of getting hearing aids. You may have seen ads online about wearables or personal amplifiers that can be quite cheap and promise hearing improvement. The problem with these is that if you don’t know how bad your hearing loss is or what is causing your hearing loss, they may be more of a hindrance than a help. That’s why we encourage you to get a hearing test and speak with a hearing professional who will assist you in finding the right hearing aid for your hearing loss, budget and lifestyle.
The Hearing Test: Do I have a Hearing Loss?
The first steps to determining which hearing aid will be suitable for you is to attend a hearing test to determine if you have hearing loss. The audiologist will need to complete a series of tests to determine the level of your hearing loss. They will also need to establish what type of hearing loss you have and whether it stems from the ear or brain. Different causes of hearing loss require different types and styles of hearing aids. In some cases, it is possible to reverse the hearing loss with medical intervention, such as an ear blocked up with wax.
Once the hearing test is completed, the audiologist will explain the results. This usually involves explaining the audiogram, which is a graph showing the softest sounds your ears can detect at different pitches. The audiogram also shows us the parts of speech and conversation you are likely to be missing due to your hearing loss. The audiogram will later be used to generate a prescription for your hearing loss that the audiologist can use to make sure your hearing aids are set at a comfortable level, giving you access to sounds your hearing loss is causing you to miss out on. The audiologist will also explain results from other tests that tell you how certain parts of the ear are functioning, such as your eardrum that may be contributing to your hearing loss. Once you have a good understanding of the hearing test and your hearing loss the audiologist will discuss different options that may be suitable for your hearing needs and budget. In some cases, this will be recommending one or two hearing aids or possibly an assistive listening device such as a TV headset.
I need a Hearing Aid, What now?
The audiologist will need to investigate your lifestyle and what you do during a general week so they can give you advice about which hearing aid features and hearing aid styles will be appropriate for your hearing loss/audiogram. The audiologist will listen to you to get an understanding about what situations your hearing loss is causing difficulties, such as trouble hearing your loved ones at family gatherings or hearing your friend talking to you on the mobile phone. You will work with the audiologist to set goals that you would like to achieve with your hearing aids within your budget. The cheaper economy hearing aids do a fabulous job for people who have more quiet lifestyles and don’t regularly require additional features to help them out in noisy environments like the pub or a busy restaurant. As the hearing aids get more advanced with additional features the sound quality generally improves and the hearing aids become more comfortable in background noise. There are also other features such as Bluetooth and connectivity to phone apps that allow you to use your mobile phone as a remote control for your hearing aids. If you decide you would like to trial a hearing aid, most providers offer hearing aid trials for free or at a low cost so that you can see how much they help you and decide if it is the right hearing aid for your hearing loss and lifestyle and whether the benefits you experience are worth the cost to you.
Will a cheap hearing aid be ok for me if I have a big hearing loss?
There are hearing aids available at all levels of technology that have the ability to give you the volume suitable for your hearing loss. Audiologists will select the power level needed from the hearing aid based on your audiogram from your hearing test appointment. To make sure the hearing aid is doing what it is supposed to, they will also take measurements in your ears at the hearing aid fitting to make sure the hearing aids are set to the prescription for your hearing loss. The audiologist will also make sure that the hearing aids are not too loud or uncomfortable for you and that they are set at a good volume whether you have budget or premium hearing aids. Most hearing aids including the cheaper ones come with volume controls that can be activated to give you some control of the volume. You may find in noisy environments that speech is still hard to understand or the pots banging behind you are louder than the person you are trying to focus on whereas the higher-end hearing aids have features to help smooth the more intrusive sounds and narrow in more closely on the person in front of you.
Our conclusions…Are cheap hearing aids any good?
When you consult a professional and have a hearing test and hearing aid fitting opting for cheaper hearing aids you will likely have a hearing aid that will be great for one to one conversation, television and more quiet environments. We always have to remember that a hearing aid is just that..it’s an aid. There are times when people miss conversation even with completely normal hearing. You will need to use other techniques to ensure you are doing the best with your communication- such as making sure people know to face you when talking to you and perhaps picking a restaurant that you know is less busy and less noisy, however, a hearing aid whether budget or premium can make a big difference and give you access to sounds you hearing loss had you missing out on. So get a hearing test and find out what you are missing, your hearing professional’s job is to listen and work with you to recommend the hearing aids that are right for you.
Contact Attune Hearing for a comprehensive hearing test by Australia’s only accredited hearing healthcare provider. Attune’s team of university qualified audiologists provide hearing services to Australians nationwide and offer professional advice and support for those with hearing loss.