Do you know someone who should buy a hearing aid?

Posted on : Mar 13, 2015

Do you know someone who needs to buy a hearing aid, but hasn’t yet? I do. I talk to people all the time about the decision to acknowledge their hearing loss and invest in hearing aids. I know how hard it is for people to come to terms with that decision. While I can’t make the emotional decision any easier, I can offer some advice on how to buy a hearing aid. The most important decision you make isn’t which hearing aid brand or model to buy, it’s who will be your clinician - the person who will dispense and fit your hearing aid.

Find someone who you’re comfortable talking to, and who seems like he or she will take the time to make sure you get the right fit. As I’ve always said, “Your hearing aid is only as good as the person who fits it”! The hearing aid that will work best for you depends on the kind and severity of your hearing loss as well as your lifestyle needs. If you have a hearing loss in both of your ears, two hearing aids are generally recommended because two aids provide a more natural signal to the brain. Hearing in both ears also will help you understand speech and locate where the sound is coming from. You and your clinician should select a hearing aid that best suits your needs and lifestyle.

You might be thinking “I don’t need an expensive hearing aid right now because my hearing isn’t that bad.” Or you might think “Only the best for my mother! I want her to hear as well as she can.” Like computers, hearing aids come in different price points. Make your decision about how much to spend based on where and how you’ll use the hearing aid. Make sure you buy a high-end hearing aid if you plan to use it in noisy environments, but don’t buy more power than you need. Someone who mainly stays home and watches TV or has conversations only in quiet environments doesn’t need a top of the line hearing aid — any more than someone who uses a computer mainly to surf the web and answer email needs a quad core Mac Pro. On the other hand, if you’re relatively active, you will place more demands on your hearing aids. Crowded restaurants, conference centres, sports games and family gatherings all require your aids to work harder to filter out background noise and focus on what people are saying to you.

Price is also a key consideration because hearing aids have a large range of price. Similar to other equipment purchases, style and features affect cost. However, don’t use price alone to determine the best hearing aid for you. Just because one hearing aid is more expensive than another does not necessarily mean that it will better suit your needs. A hearing aid will not restore your normal hearing. With practice however, a hearing aid will increase your awareness of sounds and their sources.

You will want to wear your hearing aid regularly, so select one that is convenient and easy for you to use. Other features to consider include parts or services covered by the warranty, estimated schedule and costs for maintenance and repair, batteries, options and upgrade opportunities, the cost of on-going appointments for adjustment and cleaning, and the hearing aid clinic’s reputation for quality and customer service. There are many reasons people should go ahead with purchasing hearing aids, and there is no time like the present. It's just a decision - and the joy it will give you will be seen by the smile on your face when you can hear all those soft natural sounds again.

John Robertson M.A.N.Z.A.I. is Managing Director for The team at Hearing Technology, who are committed to providing New Zealanders with exceptional hearing healthcare. You can Call 0800 142 152 to make an appointment for a free hearing health check at one of their locations and mention that you saw this article on the Aged Advisor website.