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Hearing Blog



Selecting the Perfect Hearing Aid: A Guide for Beginners

Written by OrkaJan 12, 2021 - 5 min read


When embarking on the journey to select the perfect hearing aid, many beginners find themselves navigating a maze of options, technologies, and price points. The process can be daunting, but with the right guidance, choosing a hearing aid that enhances your quality of life becomes a seamless endeavor. Dr. Alexi Silance, an experienced audiologist at Orka Labs, offers her expertise to demystify the selection process, ensuring you make an informed decision tailored to your unique needs.

Have you ever wondered what factors you need to consider before purchasing a hearing aid? I'm Doctor Alexi Silance with Orka Labs, and I'm here to help you answer some of those questions.

When looking to purchase hearing aids, there are a few factors that you need to take into consideration.

Step One: Understanding Your Hearing Loss

Assessing the Severity of Your Hearing Loss

The initial step in your quest for the right hearing aid is to understand the extent of your hearing loss. This assessment is crucial as it determines the type of hearing aid that best supports your auditory requirements. Whether you have a mild or moderately severe hearing impairment, options range from direct-to-consumer devices to prescription and over-the-counter aids. It should be emphasized that the importance of selecting a device that aligns with your level of hearing loss to ensure optimal auditory support.

Step Two: Understanding the Types of Hearing Aid

Hearing aids come in various styles, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The most common types include:

CIC Hearing Aids (Completely-in-Canal)

A completely-in-the-canal hearing aid is specifically designed to fit your ear canal and it’s the smallest and the least visible hearing aid available. It’s best suited for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. However, this type of device is more likely to pick up external noise such as wind. They also often don’t have special features such as volume control or a microphone. Smaller batteries mean they will require more frequent charging.

ITC Hearing Aids (In-the-Canal)

An in-the-canal hearing aid offers a custom fit to your ear so it will be very comfortable. This type of device won’t be very visible compared to larger styles. It offers another great benefit of incorporating volume and memory controls, so it’s a good middle-ground option between larger more powerful styles and smaller less visible types that offer less control to the user. It’s great for those suffering from mild to moderate hearing loss.

ITE Hearing Aids (In-the-Ear)

An in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid is a customized device that fits around the outside of your ear. The ITE hearing aid is a larger device, so short battery life shouldn’t be an issue. It has features that smaller styles don’t have such as volume control. It might pick up more wind noise than smaller hearing aids. They are also made in two styles — one that fits all of the outer ear called full shell and one that only fits the lower half (half shell). They are suitable for people with mild to severe hear loss.

BTE Hearing Aids (Behind-the-Ear)

A behind-the-ear (BTE) device is the most common style in the world. It’s the biggest hearing aid available so the device provides the user with longer battery life and more power. The BTE style is the least discreet out of all hearing aids as it attaches behind your ear. It is available in different sizes and the new mini designs can be customized to be barely visible.

RIC and RITE Hearing Aids (Receiver-in-canal or receiver-in-the-ear)

A receiver-in-canal (RIC) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) hearing aids appear similar to the BTE devices with the receiver fitted in the ear canal. It is a type of hearing aid that is known to be suitable for most hearing loss situations. The difference is that a small wire instead of a tube connects it to the speaker or receiver behind the ear. They are smaller than the typical BTE devices so are more discreet. It also comes with a bigger battery, which lasts longer. However, these devices are more prone to clogging from earwax. Orka Two is RIC device that offers a discreet, modern, and minimalistic design. This self-adaptive device reduces noise and enhances speech in a wide range of environments for your comfort.

Open Fit Hearing Aids

Open fit hearing aid is a device that doesn’t block the ears and allows natural sounds to pass through. It is similar to the BTE hearing aid with a very slim tube and a RIC or RITE device with a dome that sits in the ear. This style improves sound quality and reduces unnecessary noise (whistling) when used by people with more severe hearing loss.

Understanding the pros and cons of each type will help you make a choice that aligns with your comfort, lifestyle, and hearing needs.

Step Three: Consider Technology Level in Hearing Aids

Matching Technology with Lifestyle

Modern hearing aids are equipped with a range of features designed to improve your hearing experience. Some key features to look for include:

  • Noise Reduction: Essential for clear hearing in noisy environments.
  • Directional Microphones: Improve the ability to focus on the sound you want to hear.
  • Rechargeability: Offers convenience and ease of use.
  • Bluetooth Connectivity: Allows for direct connection to smartphones, TVs, and other devices.

When you are considering the features of hearing aids, evaluate which features are most important to you and align with your lifestyle needs.

Hearing aids today come packed with an array of technological features designed to cater to diverse lifestyles. If you lead an active life that benefits from the convenience of hands-free calls or streaming music directly to your hearing aids, there are advanced devices designed to meet these specific needs. Conversely, for those who value simplicity, there are user-friendly models that require minimal technical interaction. It's essential to consult with your audiologist to find a hearing aid that matches your comfort level and technological requirements.

Step Four: Considering the Cost of Hearing Aids

Finding Value Beyond the Price Tag

The cost of hearing aids varies significantly, with premium models reaching upwards of $4,000 per unit. However, a higher price tag does not necessarily guarantee superior quality. It's vital to evaluate the functionality and services included with the hearing aid against its price. Drawing from my three decades of experience, I observed that many cost-effective models offer comparable performance to their more expensive counterparts. Thus, when budgeting for a hearing aid, focus on the features that fulfill your essential needs rather than the cost alone.

Making the Right Choice

Selecting the ideal hearing aid involves careful consideration of your hearing loss, desired technological features, and budget constraints. By prioritizing these factors, you can find a device that not only meets your needs but also enhances your life's quality affordably. I encourage potential hearing aid users to focus on solutions that offer the most significant benefit to their daily lives, ensuring a choice that delivers both satisfaction and value.

Before even considering hearing aids as one of your options, visit a specialist and ask for their opinion. Some hearing losses are correctable by removing ear wax or treating an ear infection. Request a hearing test and seek a referral to an audiologist. They will help you choose a suitable hearing aid if you need one.

Nowadays, most hearing aids are offered on a trial basis so ask about it before your purchase so you can decide whether or not it’s the right fit for you. Also, don’t forget to check for the warranty of your new device which includes parts and labor. Make sure to do your research and go to a well-respected company for your device. Any misleading claims about devices correcting hearing loss or eliminating all background noise are false advertising that you shouldn’t trust.

Choosing the Right Hearing Aid with Orka

As you consider your options, we invite you to explore Orka's premium hearing aids. At Orka, we're committed to innovation, offering cutting-edge solutions that integrate seamlessly into your life. Our hearing aids are designed to provide the utmost in auditory support, catering to a wide range of needs and lifestyles.

Orka has a Remote Care service that allows you to make an appointment with an audiologist online. Orka also provides professional and expert online hearing tests for everyone.

For more information on how Orka can enhance your hearing experience, visit www.hiorka.com.

Start your first talk with Orka Hearing Professionals right now at (800)653-6022Schedule your preferred time

About the Author

Dr. Alexi SilanceDoctor of Audiology (AuD), DNM

With over 30 years experience as an audiologist, Dr. Alexi has a passion for improving communication abilities for those with hearing loss. Her focus lies heavily on providing education about hearing aids and tinnitus management.

All content and information on this website is for informal and educational purposes only, nothing contained herein shall constitute medical advice, and does not establish any patient-client relationship by your use and access of this blog.
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