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Hearing aid styles and suitibility

It is a very common misconception that what a hearing aid looks like can give you an indication of it’s capability or even price. A popular myth is that the most expensive or the best ones are “the tiny ones that fit in your ear and can’t be seen”.  Whilst cosmetics can be a very important factor for some people, the main differences in terms of technology (and price) are actually the unseen ones inside the device.

The decision about what style of hearing aid is most appropriate for the wearer is usually not down to cost or technological requirements. The factors determining the look of the hearing aid are:

1)      Power required. As a rule of thumb, the larger the hearing aid, the more amplification it can deliver. A person with a more severe hearing loss will require a larger more powerful hearing instrument. All hearing instruments have a speaker or “receiver” as it is known. The bigger the receiver the more amplification it can provide.

2)      Cosmetic requirements. Many people believe that a hearing aid should be “heard and not seen”. This is understandable given that there is still some stigma attached to admitting that you have a hearing loss. This is mainly down to the fact that most hearing losses are age related – nobody likes to admit they’re getting on a bit.

3)      Dexterity. It goes without saying that someone with poor manual dexterity would struggle to insert and remove a very small hearing aid – let alone try to handle the tiny batteries. Larger hearing aids have larger batteries.

It is interesting to note the change in cosmetic requirements for a hearing impaired person over time. First time users tend to insist on highly cosmetic devices, for the reasons stated above. After several years and perhaps upon their purchase of their next pair of hearing aids, their requirements usually change to “I don’t care what it looks like just as long as I can hear well”.

When a hearing impaired person finally “comes out of the closet” and gets some hearing aids, they may be initially embarrassed. Once this period has passed then their priorities tend to shift towards quality of hearing and sound.

If you are considering some hearing aids then you may be relieved to know that over 90% of hearing aids are suitable for over 90% of hearing losses. Your focus of attention should therefore be on what the hearing aids can do to improve your quality of life through the technology inside.

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