Hearing loss affects many people every day. If you believe your hearing loss is affecting your daily life, you have several options to improve your function. How should you choose a hearing aid? The Mayo Clinic suggests that several factors, from the degree of hearing loss to your choice in cosmetic features, contribute to the decision.
The style you may be most familiar with is the device that sits behind the ear and is appropriate for most levels of hearing loss. This standard style loops over the top and back of the ear with a tube that rests in the ear canal. This device offers easy adjustments and some of the best amplification but can also register air movement as noise. Some newer models offer a lower profile in terms of size and replace tubes with wires. If you often have thick earwax, this may be the choice for you.
Outer Ear Device
The next style features either a half or full shell and rests in the outer ear. Although it is less bulky than the previous style, it is still noticeable. Directional microphones can focus the attention on where you need it, and volume control can help you settle into the proper level of help for your hearing. Battery life is good in comparison to smaller devices so that this device may be more cost effective in the long term. Issues may include noise from air movement and clogging from earwax. People who suffer from mild to severe hearing loss may use these devices with success.
Open Design Device
Another device that sits in the outer ear offers an open design. This style leaves the inner ear passage open, so your voice will be clearer to you. However, functions are very limited, and the device will only aid in hearing higher frequencies.
Subsequent styles move the device into the ear canal with lower profiles. The first device, suitable for those with mild or moderate hearing loss, sits part way in the ear canal and is partially visible in the outer ear. This configuration allows the device to use directional microphones and offers volume control to tune in the level of amplification. As the instrument sits further in the ear, earwax will become increasingly problematic.
Finally, the smallest device style lies wholly within the ear canal and is practically invisible to others. If you suffer from mild or moderate hearing loss, this cosmetically-friendly device may be your ideal choice. The low profile of this device protects it from air movement. Drawbacks include earwax clogs, less efficient batteries, and lack of features such as microphone and volume control.
With several options available, a few guidelines can help you narrow your decision more quickly. The greater your hearing loss, the larger the device that will provide benefit. Also, smaller devices offer fewer functions.