Hearing aids make sounds louder. There are many different styles of hearing aids. And you can add special features to your hearing aids. But almost all hearing aids have these parts:
You have some options if you think you have a hearing problem and are thinking about getting hearing aids. You can see your doctor or an audiologist and be fit for prescription hearing aids by a licensed hearing aid provider. But you might consider buying an over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid.
If you choose to use an audiologist, he or she can help determine what type of hearing aid will work best for you. The audiologist will pick a hearing aid based on the type and how much hearing loss you have and other factors. He or she can help you learn how to get the most out of your hearing aids. In general, it usually is better to wear hearing aids in both ears, even if the hearing loss in the ears is not equal.
Prescription hearing aids need to be fitted by someone trained specifically in hearing problems. An audiologist or licensed hearing aid provider can make sure your hearing aids fit and work for your type and degree of hearing loss.
Over-the-counter hearing aids, which may be called personal sound amplification products, or PSAPs, may be an option if you have mild to moderate hearing loss. These are available without a hearing test. Read reviews of these devices online and choose one with good ratings.Be careful of low-priced OTC hearing aids.
You also need to consider cost. Hearing aids can be expensive, and they are not always covered by insurance. Be sure to ask about a return policy, in case you are not satisfied with the hearing aids, and any warranties.
Hearing aids differ in how they look, what size they are, where they are placed in the ear, and how much they can amplify sounds.
Most hearing aids use digital technology. They are programmed for your needs using a computer. Very few hearing aids use analog technology.
The size of a hearing aid is not a good indicator of its sound quality.
You can wear hearing aids behind your ear, in your outer ear, in your ear canal, or completely implanted in the ear. The kind of hearing aid you choose depends on many things, including your degree of hearing loss, your doctor or audiologist's advice, and what kind of hearing aid you want. See a picture of different styles of external hearing aids.
Special features can be added to your hearing aids to help you hear even better.
Disposable hearing aids that you use for a short period of time are also available. They last for 30 to 60 days. They may be an option for those who have mild to moderate hearing loss.
It may take from several weeks to months for you to get used to your hearing aids. You may find that:
Here are some general tips to help you adjust to your new hearing aids.
Other Works Consulted
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders (2011). Ten Ways to Recognize Hearing Loss. Available online: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/10ways.aspx.
- Sweetow RW, Cascia T (2012). Aural rehabilitation and hearing aids. In AK Lalwani, ed., Current Diagnosis and Treatment in Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, 3rd ed., pp. 721–728. New York: McGraw-Hill.
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