Choosing the right hearing aid
Hearing aids can significantly improve your life but only if you’re prescribed with the right device for you. This process is a lot more complex than most people realise and involves a number of factors.
10 considerations when selecting a hearing aid
1. Does your hearing provider follow best-practices?
In an industry that is largely unregulated, it is up to the consumer to be particularly discerning when selecting their hearing provider. It’s important to choose your Audiologist or hearing aid provider before you choose your hearing aid. The skills, care and time taken by the person fitting the aid will be more important than the choice of hearing aid itself.
What are best practices? They are the fundamental things your hearing provider should be doing when recommending, fitting and programming your hearing aids. They include a comprehensive hearing assessment, a thorough needs assessment, diagnostic checks on your hearing aids to ensure they’re performing optimally, real ear measures, and validation outcome measures to determine your real world benefit with those hearing aids.
In addition, hearing aids need ongoing maintenance so it’s crucial that you get along with your hearing professional and feel confident in the skill, level of service and care that they offer you.
2. Is your hearing provider independent?
You may or may not be aware that most Australian hearing clinics are owned by hearing aid manufacturers where hearing providers typically only prescribe devices made by their owners, even if there is a better available solution.
Brad Hutchinson Hearing is a locally owned, independent hearing aid provider. As we are not owned by a hearing aid manufacturer, our clients receive trustworthy information and advice.
As an independent hearing aid provider, we sell all brands and types of aids, including Starkey, Widex, GN Resound, Phonak, Oticon, Siemens and Unitron. Because we’re not restricted to one brand of hearing aid like many hearing companies, you can be assured that we’re matching hearing aids to your specific needs rather than you having to match the hearing aids available.
3. Your hearing loss
It’s important to select a hearing aid that’s capable of meeting your amplification requirements based on the severity of your hearing loss. Those with a mild to moderate hearing loss typically have many hearing device options available to them whereas those with a severe to profound hearing loss are more restricted to devices that are able to provide sufficient power.
Even those with severe hearing loss may be suitable for discrete aids, so long as the hearing care professional selects a receiver with sufficient power to meet the needs of their hearing prescription.
The severity and configuration of hearing loss will also dictate if a custom earmould is necessary. Those with severe hearing loss generally need an earmould to trap as much sound for amplification as possible. And with earmoulds comes the consideration as to whether venting is required.
4. Your speech in noise score
This is an indication of how well you hear in background noise. If your speech in noise score is low, it is necessary to select hearing aids that will give you access to accessories that will help you hear better in background noise, such as a telecoil inside the hearing aid or wireless accessibility to a remote listening device.
5. Your specific needs
During a thorough needs assessment, your hearing professional should ask questions to determine which features are necessary for you. For example, do you have any vision impairment or wear glasses, dexterity issues, trouble talking on the phone, or do you work in an industry where you’re exposed to a lot of dirt and/or dust. These are among many important factors that need to be taken into account when considering the appropriateness of a device for you.
6. Your lifestyle
Those who lead an active, highly social lifestyle will benefit from a different hearing aid than those who lead a quieter lifestyle where they are exposed to less complex listening situations.
7. Your budget
For many people, the price of hearing aids is their primary consideration and some consumers can be sceptical as to whether the higher price of more sophisticated technology is worth it. In addition to other features and benefits, the more sophisticated technology is designed to allow you to access more of that you want to hear and to filter out more of what you don’t want to hear. This is usually more important to those who lead an active, highly social lifestyle where they are exposed to more complex hearing situations.
The general rule of thumb with hearing aids is to buy the best technology you can reasonably afford. Our clinicians will consult with you to understand your budget and will offer you the best technology available in your price range.
8. Cosmetic considerations
When choosing a hearing aid, appearance is important. However, sometimes the requirement for hearing aids to be cosmetically appealing can compromise an Audiologist’s ability to provide them with the true amplification required. If, for example, a person is insistent that they want discrete “invisible” aids but these are not necessarily ideal for their hearing loss, functionality will be compromised.
9. Trial period
It’s important for you to have the opportunity to try before you buy, in your day-to-day life, to make sure the hearing aids suit your lifestyle.
To ensure your satisfaction, we offer a 2-week at-home obligation-free hearing aid trial (excluding free government aids available to Pensioners and Veterans).
10. Warranty period
Be sure to check the warranty period to determine how long you’re covered for parts and labour. We offer either a 3 or 5 year warranty, depending on the device.
We understand that choosing a hearing aid can be daunting. Hearing aid prescription is complex and requires highly specialised skills and experience. For advice on the right hearing device for you, simply fill out the form below and a hearing consultant will be in touch.