Contributed by Joy Victory, managing editor, Healthy Hearing
No matter the severity of your hearing loss, there’s a hearing aid designed to fit your hearing needs, lifestyle and personality. Like most technology, hearing aids vary from economical models that simply amplify sound to more expensive models with wireless technology and state-of-the-art features. You’ll want to do a little bit of research and ask some questions before you determine which is best suited for you, especially if you’re an active individual who’s looking forward to enjoying a recreational summer.
Here are some topics to discuss with your physician or audiologist after you’ve had a thorough hearing evaluation and determined the cause and severity of your hearing loss.
1. Tell them how active you are. If you’d rather be at the ballpark watching the Boys of Summer than on the couch in front of your television, ask if you’re a candidate for hearing aids designed to improve your ability to hear and understand in noisy, crowded environments, such as restaurants and sporting events. Advanced technology decreases the amount of concentration you need to understand so you can relax and enjoy the game.
If you’d rather be playing a round of golf or game of tennis than sitting courtside, ask your hearing health professional if an in-the-ear (ITC) style is best for you. Because the receivers are protected by your outer ear, the amount of wind noise you hear is minimized. ITCs are typically easier to use with a telephone and are best for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
2. Inquire about durability. Technology is great, but if you’re an active individual, durability may be even more important. Ask about hearing aids designed with protection against many of hearing aids’ most deadly foes – dirt, moisture and accidental falls.
3. Ask about accessories. There are a variety of hearing aid accessories designed to protect your new device from the elements. Hearing aid sleeves and sweat bands fit neatly over BTE models to keep perspiration and other moisture out, without sacrificing sound quality. Specialized clips and stretch cords attach to your clothing to prevent accidental breakage and loss. And special dehumidifiers, or hearing aid dryers, can prolong the life of your hearing aids by removing any remaining moisture from the device while you sleep at night.
4. Discuss your style preferences. Today, more than four million Americans wear hearing aids and the number is growing daily. Talk to your audiologist about the different styles and colors of hearing aids that are best suited to your hearing loss and level of recreational activity. Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) and ITC models are virtually invisible to others and work best for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss.
If you are diagnosed with hearing loss and hearing aids are the prescribed treatment, work with your professional to determine which device is best for the severity of your loss as well as for your lifestyle and budget.
If you need help with hearing loss, visit our directory of consumer-reviewed hearing loss clinics to find a center near you.