(most in the range of $1,500 to $3,000 each)
How It Works
The concept of a hearing aid is to amplify sound and bring it directly to your inner ear. This can be done in several different ways. First, you can get an analog hearing aid, which magnifies all sounds to the same degree. This is one of the most basic (and least expensive) of the options, and can be an appropriate choice for people with all sorts of hearing needs.
If you want to be able to change your hearing aid capability for different settings, you may be interested in a programmable analog style. This uses a microchip that allows you to specify different settings to help you hear well in a handful of environments.
You can also purchase a hearing aid that relies on the latest digital technology. This method is more advanced that analog and also can cost more. It works by using a computer chip to translate the sound into code that can be adjusted to accommodate your specific hearing needs. This is the most popular type in the market today, although it costs more than the simpler analog options. But many users say the benefits outweigh the increased investment required.
Different Hearing Aid Styles
Regardless of whether you opt for analog or digital technology, the style of your hearing aid can span a wide range. Which one is best for you will depend on your specific needs, lifestyle and the degree of your hearing loss. Here is a rundown of the most popular choices you will find and what you can expect from each one:
- You can buy a hearing aid that fits directly in the ear canal. This can be anything from a tiny model that is completely contained inside your ear, to a half shell style that is custom molded to cup your ear and fit partially inside. While the smaller the style the less visible the aid will be, just keep in mind that the smallest hearing aids are typically less powerful than larger ones, offer fewer features and have a shorter battery life.
- You can also select a full in-the-ear hearing aid, which is more obvious to the onlooker, but is also much easier to handle and to adjust. In addition, this style uses larger batteries that usually last longer than the miniature counterparts.
- A behind-the-ear hearing aid is another popular choice. This style cups the top of your ear almost like a question mark, with the amplifier resting behind it. The sound is then carried from the amplifier to a devise that sits inside the ear canal.
- Finally, an open fit hearing aid is a small contraption that sits behind the ear and carries sound through a small wire into your ear. This is a small, relatively inconspicuous option that is an appropriate choice for people with high-frequency loss who can still hear low frequency sounds well.