Modern hearing aids come in different styles, brands, technology levels, colours and together amount to an impressive array of options. How do you know which ones are correct for you? There are pros and cons to every option and every person’s unique needs make some options a lot more appropriate than others.
The first option that decided upon is extended wear vs. temporary wear devices. The extended wear option leaves you with devices in your ears that you wear 24 hours a day, bathe with it, sleep with it and do everything you normally would without having to worry about it. The other choice would be a traditional style of hearing aid. These are the ones that people typically think of when it comes to wearing hearing aids. They have batteries that need to be changed between every 3-21 days depending on the style of device. They are taken out to sleep and although most of them are moisture resistant, you are best to avoid getting them directly wet so they must be removed before swimming or bathing. The advantages of traditional devices are numerous. You have much more flexibility with assistive devices and direct connectivity with other technology with traditional temporary wear devices, cost is usually considerably less and traditional devices work with all types of hearing loss whereas the extended wear can only be worn by 40% of the population due to physiological or audiological restrictions.
The next decision that needs to be made if a temporary wear device is chosen is what style of device. As you can see from the picture, there are a number of different options behind the ear as well as in the ear.
Each of these options has benefits for different reasons, from dexterity limitations to cosmetic appeal. The style is selected with precision to meet the needs of each individual, not to make an appealing quick sale.
The final decision is the technology level. This is driven by three factors: lifestyle needs, hearing loss requirements and also budget. The technology level simply refers to which computer chip is installed into the device. That controls the quality and sophistication of the device. If a person has a demanding lifestyle (i.e. they find themselves in difficult listening environments such as restaurants, large family gatherings or noisy dining rooms) then they would be able to benefit from the advanced technology that comes with the higher end of the technology spectrum. If their lifestyle instead was fairly quiet and they don’t find themselves in noise then there is a much greater likelihood that they would be able to use a more basic level of technology with similar results.