What is Best Hearing Aid for Me?

What is best hearing aid for me (How to select best Hearing aid?)

  • How Hearing aid is chosen?
  • Types /Style of hearing aid:
  • Features of modern digital hearing aids:
  • Technology level of hearing aids as per life style requirement:
  • Why fitting in both ears (binaural fitting) is important?

How Hearing Aid is chosen?

Ear and hearing test:

The patient should get his ears examined by ear specialist and an audiogram (Hearing test) should be obtained by audiologist to know the degree and type of hearing loss.

If hearing loss is not treatable by medicine/surgery then a hearing aid is prescribed.

Lifestyle communication needs:

If you are working, you are in highly variable listening environments or your profession demands accuracy, you have very active lifestyles may need to consider today’s high end technology hearing aids with higher price.

On the other hand, if you’re retired, living alone, and seldom go to restaurants or parties, simpler, more basic noise reduction features may suffice.

Price of hearing aid:

Cost of Hearing aid is a factor to consider but price alone is not the factor to determine the best hearing aid for you. More expensive hearing aid does not necessarily mean that it will better suit you.
Hearing aid should be easy and convenient for you to use.

Work with your hearing care professional until you are comfortable and satisfied.

Types / Style of Hearing Aids

Behind-the-ear (BTE) Aids

  • Sits behind the ear and connects via a plastic tube to ear-mould.

  • Easy to use because of larger controls/ switches.

    ITCC

  • Fits all degrees of hearing losses.

  • The Battery life averages 14 days.

  • Price ranges from INR 10,000 to 2.5 lacs approx.

Receiver in the Canal (RIC) Aids

  • Smaller almost invisible.

  • A very thin, almost invisible tube is used to connect the aid to the ear canal.

    ITCC

  • Suitable for mild to moderately severe, high frequency hearing loss.

  • The Battery life averages 7-10 days.

  • Price ranges from INR 30,000 to 2.5 lacs approx.

In-the-canal (ITC) Aids

  • Small hearing aids that fit inside the ear.

  • Suitable for hearing loss up to severe category.

    ITCC

  • The Battery life averages 12-15 days.

  • Price ranges from INR 16,000 to 2.5 lacs approx.

Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) Aids

  • Small virtually invisible hearing aid that fits inside the ear.

  • Suitable for hearing loss up to moderately severe category.

    ITCC

  • The Battery life averages 7 days.

  • Price ranges from INR 17000/- to 2.5 lacs approx.

Over-The-Ear (OTE) or Open Fit BTE

  • Miniature digital BTE device, Offer clarity of speech into the ear without blocking the entire the ear canal natural sound, without an echo.

  • Suitable for high frequency hearing loss.

Micro CIC or Invisible Hearing Aid (IIC)

  • Invisible as fits deep inside the canal.

  • Suits mild to moderate hearing loss.

Features of Modern Digital Hearing Aids

Along with excellent speech clarity Digital hearing aids can be set up for your own specific lifestyle situations for improved performance. However, these sophisticated electronics may significantly add to the cost of the hearing aid as well.

  • Channels and Bands: In general, having more channels is better than having more bands and the more channels the better – to a point! The more noise you regularly experience, the more you will benefit from a greater number of channels and bands. If your hearing loss changes across the frequency spectrum, then you may need more channels/bands. If your hearing loss is relatively flat across the frequency spectrum, then you may only need less channels

  • Multiple Programs: Like programs may have setting for a quiet bedroom, crowded market place, listening to music, telephone. Programs can be manual or automatic.

  • Noise Reduction: Hearing aids will recognize the difference between speech and background noise (such as machinery, traffic, crowds, AC) and electively reduce amplification of the background noise, helping you to follow conversations in noisy environments

  • Directional Microphones: Backgrounds noises coming from behind are dampened while others sound coming in front are amplified.

  • Feedback Cancellation: The newest-technology hearing aids have the best versions of this very important feature.

  • Automatic Telephone Switch: Environmental sounds are eliminated, and sound is picked up from the telephone. This also turns off the microphone on your hearing aid so you can talk without your hearing aid “whistling.”

  • Direct audio input allows you to plug in a remote microphone or an FM assistive listening system, connect directly to a TV, or connect to other devices such as your computer, a CD player, tape player, radio, etc.

  • Wind noise block: For outdoors on a breezy day

  • Water/sweat resistant.

  • Remote controls: For hearing aids too small to incorporate any switches or dials, the remotes can give the ability to change volume and select between multiple programs

  • Bluetooth: If you currently spend a lot of time on the phone and experience trouble understanding speech.

Technology Level of Hearing Aids as per Life Style Requirement

Digital hearing aids can be divided into three levels of technology: entry level, mid level, and advanced.
Entry-level digital hearing aids cost between 10, 000-24000/- approx for each ear.
Flexible compared to analogue technology, offer a range of adjustments and can be fit to a wide range of losses.
Work for very quiet basic life style like limited visitors, infrequent television and limited religious services.

Standard digital hearing aids cost between Approx 25,000/- and 50,000/- for each ear.

Offer more flexibility than entry level, sound can be adjusted in a greater number of channels.

Available with multiple programs, where more than one prescription can be programmed into the hearing aid, allowing the wearer to manually switch to a different listening situation when their environment changes.

Most are available with a directional microphone, which allows for better hearing of sounds in front of the listener compared to the back.

Some have a basic automatic feedback control, and most offer some basic noise reduction methods (where background noise may be controlled but not eliminated).

Work for small family, quiet shops or weekly occasional religious services, occasional driving, moderate communication.

Mid level digital hearing aids cost between 60,000 and 1, 00000/- for each ear fitted depending upon technology advancement.

For demanding listening situations with moderate to high level of noise like Business meetings, restaurants, outdoor sports, telephone use, other than standard situations.

Premium Digital Hearing Aids cost between 1, 00000/- to 2, 50,000 Offer a greater number of channels than the mid-level hearing aids

More advanced adaptive directional microphones (microphones that adjust themselves to prioritize speech even if it is not directly in front of you). Automatic feedback control is more advanced on this type of instrument. Like mid level digital hearing aids, these offer multiple programs, however with advanced hearing aids the switching between these programs can occur automatically.

Work for most challenging life style regular television, concerts and music events, family gatherings, movies, restaurants, active carrier oriented ambitious professionals, demanding communication, group meetings, music, and frequent driving.
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Why Fitting in both ears (Binaural Fitting) is important ?

  • Natural hearing with both ears

  • Better sound quality

  • Better sound of music

  • Better speech understanding from distance and in noisy surrounding

  • Better directional sense of sound (sound source localization)

  • Less listening effort and more hearing comfort

  • The ability to hear speech sounds such as /s/, /t/, /f/, and /sh/ regardless of speaker’s position in the room


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