So you need hearing aids, which one to get – premium and cheaper hearing aids?
If you are experiencing hearing loss, and an audiologist confirmed that you need to wear hearing aids, the choice available to you could be completely overwhelming. There are different brands, variations and options available, each with a different price. Sometimes, a hearing aid could cost quite a significant chunk of money. Other times, it could even be completely free under certain circumstances. So how do you go about choosing the hearing aids that best meet your hearing needs while fitting in with your budget? Consider the following before you make your decision.
The purpose of a hearing aid
Before you understand the differences between premium, top-of-the-line hearing aids and basic, cheaper hearing aids, you need to understand what a hearing aid does. Hearing aid’s main purpose is to help you hear what you should be hearing.
A hearing aid has three basic parts: a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. In a very simple terms, it receives a sound through a microphone, converts the sound waves into electrical signals and then sends them to an amplifier, which increases the power of these signals and transmits them into the ear through a speaker. Now, everyone’s hearing loss is different. We cannot just amplify everything to a certain loudness, and call it a day. The digital hearing aids nowadays, even the most basic ones, can pick and choose what frequencies to amplify, and amplify them to different loudness, all based on your unique hearing loss.
What can the most basic, cheapest hearing aids do?
The basic, cheaper hearing aids from major brands can amplify sounds of different frequencies according to your hearing loss. That means, even if you are getting the cheapest hearing aids, is it still better than nothing. You don’t need to turn the TV/radio louder anymore. You can hear conversation much better, compared to having no hearing aids at all. If the price is your main concern, this is your best option.
However, if your hearing loss is too severe, then you might need a more powerful hearing aids, which would cost a little more. This is why we always encourage everyone to get his/her hearing checked regularly to ensure hearing loss is not neglected.
Also, if you are a pensioner or a veteran, the Australian government is subsidising the full or partial cost of your hearing aids purchase. That means you can essentially get hearing aids for free and start hearing better!
What can top-of-the-line, premium hearing aids do?
Premium hearing aids can do what cheaper hearing aids do, and more. The “more” decides whether it is worthwhile spending more on hearing aids. Hearing technology has come a long way to improve the life quality for those with hearing loss. Apart from doing the basic function of hearing aids, hi-tech hearing aids has powerful features that help you hear much better than people with cheaper hearing aids, sometimes even better than people with normal hearing.
For example, background noise reduction is one useful feature. It allows you to hear conversation in noisy area more effectively by reducing the background noise. If your day-to-day activities revolve around crowded or noisy places, this is extremely beneficial to you.
Another useful feature would be automated directional microphone. The hearing aids analyse and identify where the important sound comes from, and then amplify that particular direction more. For example, when you are driving, your hearing aids can detect that the important sound comes from your passengers, instead of the road noise from outside of your driver seat’s window. A lot of research and development went into creating the intelligent algorithm, so that hearing aids wearers can enjoy hearing more.
Here are some of other useful features:
- Multiple programs for different listening environment
- Higher number of frequency channels for amplification
- Tele-coil functionality
- Wireless connectivity to smartphones, TV or radio
- Feedback/whistling reduction capability
- Remote-controlled adjustment
If you are an active person and your day-to-day activities demand more sophisticated features, it is a good idea to consider hearing aids that can help. You will need a pair of more versatile, more comfortable and more advanced hearing aids.
The Goldilocks of hearing aids
If your lifestyle is somewhat active and want to hear your very best, but price is an issue, there is always a middle ground. Hearing aids don’t come in two price brackets. You don’t need to sacrifice all features to get the cheaper hearing aids. Some features might be more important to you, and some might not. Let your audiologist know about all your hearing needs and environment, and your audiologist should advise you on the most appropriate mid-range hearing aids.
Last but not least, help from your audiologist
Now, please note that hearing aids are tools to help you hear better. How much better depends on your audiologist. There are many people with hearing aids (even expensive ones) out there, who are not wearing their hearing aids at all. Hearing aid is not a silver bullet to effortlessly help you hear the best. You will need patience, perseverance and a good audiologist.
If you can only afford basic, cheaper hearing aids, your audiologist should help you get the most out of them. You should know there are limitations, but the hearing aids should still help you with your everyday activities.
They should help you with all the issues you are facing with the hearing aids, so that you will continue wearing them and get the benefits. Hearing aids are not meant to be left in the drawers and not being worn. If there’s anything stopping you from enjoying your hearing aids, let your audiologist know. Getting hearing aids shouldn’t be the last step of the process. In fact, it should be the first step to make sure you are getting the most out of the hearing aids.
Our audiologist is here to help you get the most out of your hearing aids. We believe everyone should hear his/her favourite sounds, be it conversation with family, bird songs, or music. We also believe everyone should enjoy wearing their hearing aids, regardless of the price. Speak to us today if you are thinking of getting hearing aids, if you are not happy with your current hearing aids. Contact us today and we will help you find the best solutions of any hearing issues without you feeling frustrated.
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