There is a 10% chance that you may need hearing aids, even if you don’t realize it. According to the Hearing Foundation of Canada, 3 million Canadians suffer from some form of hearing loss. Despite this large number, only 1 in 6 of the population with hearing loss have sought out treatment. Being hearing impaired, even slightly, can make it difficult to follow everyday conversations, which can have a detrimental effect on a person’s work and social life. Hearing loss can lead to a decline in thinking ability, social isolation, depression, safety issues, mobility limitations, and reduced income and employment opportunities. Despite the importance of hearing for daily functioning, hearing loss is often unrecognized and undertreated. A hearing aid can significantly improve a hearing-impaired person’s quality of life. But how do you go about having your hearing assessed and buying the best hearing aid model for you? A hearing aid is like an extension of the body, so you want to ensure that you make the right choice. Consider these factors before buying a hearing aid:
See A Doctor or Audiologist
Don’t assume that you need a hearing aid because you struggle with hearing loss. Your hearing loss may be from a blocked ear canal due to wax built-up or another obstruction, which can be fixed.
See An Audiologist
Seek out a reputable local audiologist when buying a hearing aid. An audiologist is a regulated health care professional who specializes in diagnosing and treating auditory problems. They will assess your hearing and explain the results to you so that you understand what is happening with your hearing. If you require hearing aids, they will perform a hearing aid evaluation to determine which hearing aid(s) is the most appropriate for you and your hearing loss. Your listening and communication needs will be assessed. Your degree and type of hearing loss, the size and shape of your ear and ear canal, the dexterity of your hands and eyesight are all considered in deciding what type of hearing aid is best for you.
Consider The Different Styles
You will be counselled regarding the types of hearing aids available and current technology will be reviewed. The different kinds of hearing aids include:
- Receiver In Canal (RIC): The RIC model uses a thin wire that extends from the body of the hearing aid, located behind the ear, into the ear canal.
- Over The Ear (OTE): This model is a mini BTE aid with a thin tube and a dome or custom ear mold.
- Behind the Ear (BTE): This model hooks behind the ear and has a tube that connects into the ear canal. It is the largest but picks up the most sounds.
- Completely in Canal (CIC): The CIC model is moulded specifically for your ear canal. It is the smallest kind of aid and used for mild hearing loss.
- Receiver In The Canal (RIC): The ITC is also moulded to your ear, but does not fit all the way into the ear canal. It has features that may not be available on the CIC.
- Receiver In The Ear (RITE): The RITE model is larger and more visible, but offers special features like volume control.
You may also want to consider some additional features such as directional mics, volume control, battery size, rechargeable batteries, remote controls and wireless connectivity. We encourage you to ask any questions you may have. This will ensure you are well informed allowing you to make the best possible decision. If you have hearing loss in both ears, using two hearing aids will provide the best possible outcome. After all, we have two ears for a reason. Listening in a noisy environment is difficult when you are only hearing in one hear because you can’t distinguish where sounds are coming from. However, if the quality of hearing in one ear is much poorer compared to the other, one hearing aid may be better than two. Other options such as a BiCROS or FM system are also available for this type of situation.
Look Into Financial Assistance
No one wants to put a cost on hearing, but financial constraints can be a concern when purchasing a hearing aid. Consider the payment options and financial assistance available to you before purchasing a hearing aid, including private insurance plans and government assistance.
Hearing aids can vary in price according to electronic features and performance levels. The purchase price should not be the only consideration when buying a hearing aid. Product reliability, warranty type and dispenser services should also be determining factors. In Ontario, the Assistive Devices Program (ADP) administered by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, provides a grant towards the purchase of hearing aids. The audiologist will provide you with a completed ADP form. You are only required to pay the difference between the cost of the hearing aid and the grant received from ADP.
A Trial Period
Before purchasing a hearing aid, inquire about the trial period policy. While it might seem fine in the clinic, you might find that it doesn’t fit you in the long run. HearSay offers a 60-day satisfaction guarantee on all our hearing aid products. If you’re not happy with your new hearing aid(s), simply bring them back for an exchange or a full refund.
A Warranty Period
The warranty period would include repairs and future servicing. Talk to your Audiologist for more information about your hearing aid’s warranty.
Are you looking for a reputable Audiologist in the Milton/Halton Hills area? HearSay Speech and Hearing Centre can help you improve your hearing and find the best possible solution for your hearing needs. Our experienced and qualified Audiologist will work with you to improve your hearing and overall wellbeing. Contact us today to book a consultation!