If you suffer from hearing loss, a hearing aid could help you lead a normal life. Sure, the financial impact of purchasing a hearing aid can be tough if you’ve never bought one before. However, the benefit of being able to communicate with your friends and family and perform daily functions without help is well worth the price. Learn about the different types of hearing aids, what to look for when choosing the best hearing aids, see how they compare in price, and check out fun add-ons to personalize your device.
Important Features on Hearing Aids
Hearing aids vary depending on size, price, special features, and even the way they are inserted into your ear.
Sizes of hearing aids vary to make room for different features, battery sizes, and other exterior controls that require more buttons. Larger models can sometimes be required if you need power for longer periods of time.
The best hearing aids range in cost depending on the style of your device, your type of hearing loss, and the severity of your condition. Hearing aids cost anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 for a hearing device, depending on the special features and level of technology you choose.
Because your hearing is a worthy investment and you will have it for a very long time, your device needs to be affordable and perfect for you. Service costs aren’t always included in the price of the hearing aid, so you may also want to set aside some money to pay for setup process, hearing test and consultation, and any follow-up adjustments you could wind up needing.
You may be able to find some cheaper options online or through mail order, but you still must see a professional with a medical degree to help install, fit, and monitor your hearing device.
Some insurance providers may also help with the cost of your hearing aid, so you should check with your healthcare provider to see what options are covered as well as what amount is covered. Typically, they will pay a percentage of the cost of your hearing device every few years.
Sometimes hearing aids are physically discreet while other people enjoy fun, bright colors. Other features you may notice usually cost extra and include the following:
- Rechargeable batteries make maintenance easier and save some time because you don’t need to change the battery regularly.
- Directional microphones reduce sounds behind or beside you in favor of picking up those in front of you while some focus in only one direction.
- Remote to control and adjust your hearing features without touching your ear.
- Direct audio input to connect to your computer, TV, or music device with a simple cord.
- Noise cancellation helps in certain loud environments to reduce background noise.
- Warranties often cover any repairs or replacements if something happens or you lose your device.
- Wireless hearing aids are more tech-savvy, as they can send signals back and forth with some Bluetooth-compatible devices like your cell phone to provide clearer hearing.
Different Types of Hearing Aids Based on Condition
Hearing aids differ based on how they’re worn. Often, this depends on the type of hearing loss you have, and common types of hearing aids include the following:
- In-the-Ear (ITE) – Hearing aids worn in the ear must be custom-made to fit the outer portion of the ear. A hearing professional takes an impression of your ear, and you can often find skin tone-colored hearing aids that blend in with your ear and features like a volume control. It’s best for a range of people, from mild to severe loss.
- Invisible-in-the-Canal (IIC) – Unlike other in-the-ear models, this style is inserted farther in the canal in an attempt to make it invisible. They should be removed at night and are best for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
- Behind-the-Ear (BTE) – Resting behind or on top of the outer ear, these ‘behind the ear’ models have a tube that sound travels into the ear canal through a custom-made mold. Although the largest type of hearing aid, they come in colors to help blend in with hair and skin tones or fun designs that are flashier, and people with any degree of hearing loss of any age can benefit from this type of hearing treatment.
- In-the-Canal (ITC) – Custom fit to your ear canal, this device sits in the ear to prevent showing in the outer ear and is best for those with mild to mildly-severe hearing trouble.
- Completely-in-Canal (CIC) – Made to fit directly in the ear canal, only the tip of a tiny handle shows, making this model nearly impossible to see with the naked eye. It’s used for mild or moderate cases.
- Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) – Nearly invisible, this style doubles as a receiver or speaker and sits in the canal. Thin wires provide an open fit, and people with mild to moderate hearing loss can benefit.