I hear this question all the time. It’s a great question and it’s impossible to answer. Here’s why: there is no best hearing aid. There are a number of hearing aid manufacturers developing and producing hearing aids. Today’s hearing aids are smaller, more durable, more reliable, and more versatile than ever before. They are water resistant, rechargeable, and blue tooth capable. They can process speech in very noisy environments, and they are more flexible and accurate to program, adjust and customize for any type or degree of hearing loss. I use the car analogy with my patients. If you ask people, what’s the best car, you will get a variety of answers. Just like hearing aids, cars today are safer, more efficient and more capable no matter which brand or model you prefer.
As an audiologist, I am less concerned with the brand than the features and style of hearing aid. The receiver in the canal style hearing aid has been a significant improvement. This is a behind the ear hearing aid with a small wire that connects to a tiny receiver, the speaker, that sits in the ear canal. These hearing aids have the unique advantage of being smaller and cosmetically appealing while still being large enough to accommodate the dual microphones that provide the best noise reduction. In addition, because most of this hearing aid sits behind the ear, not in the ear, these hearing aids tend to be more durable and longer lasting. They also come in a rechargeable version which, because the battery compartment is sealed, is even more moisture resistant.
In my opinion, the hearing aid brand is not as important as making sure the features on the hearing aid best fit your communication needs and budget. I encourage my patients to think carefully about their priorities. What are your communication needs? Do you work full time? Do you enjoy restaurants, concerts and theaters which are more difficult listening environments? Is connectivity to your smart phone, computer, and TV important? What is your budget? Does your health insurance plan cover hearing aids? Be sure you discuss your concerns with your audiologist to help select the best hearing aid technology for your individual needs.
Today’s 2020 hearing aids have many high-tech options. Hearing aids can now connect directly to your smart phone and TV. Hearing aids now have sophisticated noise reduction capabilities. There are even options for your hearing health care provider to adjust your hearing aids remotely through your smart phone. There is no single best hearing aid and all hearing aid manufacturers have these advanced options. I encourage you to think carefully about what hearing aid options are most important to you.
There are no cheap hearing aids. Hearing aids are expensive and, unfortunately, the cost of hearing aids can deter some people from seeking hearing aid help. If you are over the age of 65, many Medicare Advantage plans have hearing aid coverage as an option.Be sure to consider this when choosing your Medicare Advantage plan. For those under age 65, investigate all your hearing aid options. Ask if a service plan is included in the cost of the hearing aids. What does this plan cover? For how long? Hearing aids should last between 3 to 5 years if you schedule regular follow up and maintenance visits. Like your car, your hearing aids will last longer if they are well maintained. You do get what you pay for. Inexpensive hearing aids may not have the features or durability of higher cost aids, so they may require more frequent replacement and cost you more money over time.
The best hearing aid is not a specific model or brand. The best hearing aid is the aid that fits your communication and technology needs and your budget. Most hearing aids should come with a trial period, so you can return or exchange the hearing aids if they don’t suit your needs. When you begin to explore your hearing aid options, ask questions and be sure that your hearing health care provider understands your concerns and expectations. Today’s hearing aids can have a life changing impact. Use your communication challenges, lifestyle and financial needs to make the choice that is best for you.
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