A Guide to Buying Hearing Aids

A Guide to Buying Hearing Aids

In Hearing Aids by Bary E. Williams Au.D.

If you are ready to take the plunge and get a new set of hearing devices, congratulations! This decision will continue to give you benefits for many years to come, not only in your enjoyment and ease in the sounding world but also when it comes to your relationships, physical health, and mental wellbeing. Though you’ve made the right choice to pursue treatment for hearing loss, you might still feel in the dark about where to begin. The good news is that you can leave most of that up to us. 


When we complete your diagnostic exam, we will determine your needs for hearing devices, matching you with the right style of aids to meet your hearing ability. We will consult with you to determine what unique needs you might have, including the situations in which you find hearing to be particularly difficult. With this assurance in mind, you will still want to know what possibilities are out there for hearing aids. Let’s take a moment to look at the basics of hearing aid technology, including the major styles and features to look for in your aids.


Hearing Aid Functions and Styles

The technical principles behind hearing devices are simple. A microphone captures the sound in the environment, an amplifier boosts that signal, and then a speaker plays that sound at a louder volume for your ears to hear. Although this general understanding of hearing aids is straightforward, the details are much more complex. Most of today’s hearing devices use digital technology to transform the audio that is captured in the environment. That transformation is crucial to make voices easier to hear and eliminate background noise. 


Older models tended to raise the entire volume of the environment, making background noise very loud, as well. With digital technology in place, we are now able to emphasize only those aspects that are of interest to you, notably the voices of people in a conversation. Hearing devices come in many different styles, but there are two main categories you can keep in mind. The first style has a behind-the-ear component that includes the microphone. This unit is connected by a thin tube to a speaker that fits in the ear canal. There are many different varieties of behind-the-ear hearing devices, including where specific components are housed. The other major type of hearing aid fits entirely in the ear canal. These also come in many shapes and sizes, and the smallest units can fit invisibly and completely inside the ear canal. 


What to Look for in Hearing Aids

The latest hearing devices come with a wide variety of functions. One of the first items to consider is the style of battery in your new hearing devices. Rechargeable batteries mean that you won’t need to manipulate the small components of your hearing devices, and this feature can be helpful for those who have issues with manual dexterity or arthritis. Another feature to keep in mind is Bluetooth connectivity. 


Although it might come as a surprise, having the ability to stream media directly to hearing devices is only one of the possibilities that come with Bluetooth connectivity. This feature also makes it possible to control the settings on your hearing devices through an app on your smartphone. This app can even save settings for the places you visit the most, making them easy to recall when you enter. For instance, if you need a certain type of amplification at the grocery store, you might have different needs at a restaurant. Connecting with your smart device makes it possible to tailor those experiences more easily, so keep an eye out for Bluetooth connectivity if that feature is of interest to you. 


With these basics in mind, you will be prepared to get your hearing devices with the confidence that you’re getting the best that current technology has to offer. Our professionals can help you with the rest, so don’t worry too much about the details of hearing aid components, styles, and features. We will be happy to guide you through the process of selecting your new aids and adjusting to using them as soon as possible.  

Bary E. Williams Au.D.
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