Do you constantly have to ask people to repeat themselves? Are you not able to hear everyday sounds like you used to? Do you find yourself having to crank the volume up ?
If the answer to those questions was yes, you may be suffering from hearing loss. About 20% of all American report some degree of hearing loss (about 36 million) and by 2025, it’s estimated that 900 million people worldwide will be hearing impaired to some degree.
So what can you do if you’re suffering from hearing loss? You should have tests to determine what kind of hearing loss you have and what’s causing it. Here are some signs of what you need to look for:
- Difficulty hearing consonants and hearing speech come through muffled
- Turning up the radio or TV
- Difficulty understanding words, especially in crowded settings
- Asking people to speak up or speak slower
There are any number of reasons for hearing loss and hearing aids can do a lot to bring you relief.
Nowadays, the hearing market is flooded with hearing aid brands and different types of hearing aids. Unlike the big, invasive hearing aids of the past, today’s customers can pick from invisible hearing aids, small hearing aids and other types.
Which kind is the best for you? Looking at price, fit and size will help you best answer that question:
- BTE (behind the ear): These hook over the top of your ear, kind of like headphones, and rest behind your ear. The hearing aid is connected by a tube to an earpiece that rests in the ear canal.
- CIC (completely in canal): These hearing aids are molded to fit inside an individual’s ear and can improve mild hearing loss. These are small and not really visible, but they don’t often come with any extra features.
- RIC (receiver in canal): These are similar to BTEs, except that the two pieces of the hearing aid are connected by wire. These are less visible, but can also be susceptible to clogging from earwax.
- TIC (in the canal): These are custom molded as well and fits partly in one’s ear canal. These are also less visible and come with more features, but they can sometimes to be difficult to adjust.
- Open fit hearing aids: These are also similar to BTEs, but these keep a person’s ear canal open, which allows sounds of low frequency to enter the ear and then become amplified. One benefit is that they don’t plug ears like other small models.
It’s true there are many hearing aids and hearing aid brands, but before you buy anything, keep these things in mind:
- Get a hearing test. You need to determine how bad your hearing loss may be. Schedule an on-site consultation.
- Visit an audiologist. They will be able to talk to you about hearing aid options and help you choose the right ones for you.
- Consider a trial period. As you look for the right hearing aids, trying various styles out may help in finding the best fit.
- Plan for the expense of hearing aids Even the cheapest ones run about $1,500, so you may want to consult different hearing aid buying groups.
When it comes to getting hearing aids, hearing aid buying groups and hearing aid dispensers can be of some help. Hearing aid dispensers (HADs) are licensed in all 50 states to dispense hearing aids. Being a HAD or working for hearing aid buying groups and audiology buying groups requires some educational requirements, but they are not able to do much to improve hearing besides dispensing hearing aids, so if you need things like additional testing, you should see an audiologist.
- Think about the future. Find a comfortable model, but also think about whether that model will help you if your hearing gets worse. Hearing aid buying groups may be able to help you find the best model.
If you’re dealing with hearing loss, consult a specialist with a hearing health care consultation company to help determine the best way to deal with it and the best hearing aids to improve your hearing.