Best Hearing Devices for Elderly
Hearing aids have advanced by leaps and bounds over the years. Today’s models enhance our ability to hear and understand in ways we couldn’t have dreamed of just a decade. In the process, the selection of hearing aids has also become much more confusing. To simplify things, keep in mind that your hearing aid needs to do two things – amplify and clarify what you hear. If it accomplishes these two tasks, it is doing its job.
Not everyone needs a hearing aid that accomplishes this in the same way. For instance, if you want to be able to understand your minister each Sunday when he preaches and enjoy a conversation with your kids when they visit, you will need one kind of hearing aid. If you frequently attend outdoor concerts and busy craft fairs where there is a lot of background noise and interference, you will need a different type of hearing aid. An overview of the different types is an excellent place to start.
The Different Types of Hearing Aids
There several different styles of hearing aids depending on the amount of sound amplification you need. Generally, the greater your hearing loss, the larger your hearing aid will need to be. Smaller microphones simply can’t increase the volume as much because they aren’t as adjustable. Smaller hearing aids may also be less powerful with shorter battery life. If your hearing loss is mild to moderate, you may prefer a smaller, less conspicuous hearing aid that isn’t as noticeable. It’s a trade-off you should consider before purchasing.
Completely In the Canal (CIC) Hearing Aids
These hearing aids are molded to shape of the inside of the ear canal and are best suited for mild to moderate hearing problems. These are tiny and almost invisible. They don’t pick up a lot of wind noise, so they are helpful for outside use. However, they don’t have extras like directional microphones or adjustable volume. The batteries are small and difficult to work with and don’t hold much of a charge.
In the Canal (ITC) Hearing Aids
In the Canal hearing aids are also molded specifically to fit the canal of the ear, but part of it will also fit immediately outside of the canal, so it is a bit more visible. It is for mild to moderate hearing loss and is still not highly visible.
In the Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids
These are hearing aids that are fitted to the outer, bowl-shaped area of your ear, sometimes called the shell of the ear. Some fill the entire area while others may fit in just the lower portion. ITE hearing aids can work for anyone with mild to severe hearing problems. And have added features like adjustable volume to help you customize your experience. These are obviously more visible, but today’s models come in various flesh tones that make them more unobtrusive. These are also easier to handle and have a longer battery life.
Behind the Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
BTEs are hearing aids that are held in place by hooking over the top of the ear via a wire with the microphone resting behind the ear and a tube connecting it to an earpiece that tucks into the ear canal. These work for any kind of hearing loss and are the largest kind of hearing aid, although sleeker designs are less noticeable. These are can be used for any level of hearing loss but are particularly helpful for those with extensive hearing loss.
Open Fit Hearing Aids
Open fit hearing aids keep the ear canal free of obstructions so that low-frequency sounds can get through while high-frequency sounds are amplified through the hearing aid. If you have mild to moderate hearing problems, this may be a good option. It’s less visible and may be more pleasing, as your own voice and the voices of others will sound more natural.
Options to Consider
There are also some additional features available on some hearing aids you may want to consider, including:
- Noise reduction
- Environmental noise cancellation
- Synchronization between both hearing aids
- Directional microphones
- Rechargeable batteries
- Telecoils. These make hearing on telecoil compatible telephones, and some telecoil equipped public address systems (such as in theaters and churches) simpler.
- Wireless connectivity for Bluetooth devices, including cellphones and televisions
Good Brands Mean Good Hearing Aids
When there are so many hearing aid styles available, the most important decision is finding the right brand. Top-quality brands offer something for everyone, and they stand behind those brands with excellent customer care and support. They use superior materials and are staffed by qualified audiologists.
This company is an innovator, offering truly invisible hearing aids that fit entirely in the ear canal that are remotely programmable. You can order them online and use their online app and video tools to learn how to program them, recharge the batteries, and insert them properly in the ear canal. They offer three different styles, and they get high marks for customer service and support. The company was launched by ENT surgeons and hearing specialists and focuses on mild to moderate hearing loss.
- Customer support by hearing professionals
- Payment plans available
- Rechargeable batteries
- Federal employees’ benefits will cover the cost
- Less expensive than traditional hearing aids
- Particularly suitable for high-frequency hearing loss
- Can’t replace batteries
- Not suitable for severe hearing loss
Final Thought: Although putting them in takes some practice, these are outstanding if you want an unobtrusive, effective hearing aid.
Custom programmed hearing aids are Embrace Hearing’s specialty. Starting at $799 per ear, you have the option of three different styles of hearing aid with two or three different levels of amplification. Hearing tests are available online. They offer hearing aids for everything from mild to very severe hearing loss and back it with a two or three-year warranty and friendly, helpful customer service.
- Customized programming for your hearing loss
- 45-day refund policy
- Rechargeable models available
- Bluetooth capabilities
- Good warranty
- Monthly payment plans available
- Online or via telephone only
Final Thought: Regardless of what kind of hearing loss you have, Embrace Hearing can customize a solution for you.
The name is instantly recognizable for good reason – the brand has been producing exceptional products since 1948, and it shows. Their business model is unique as well. There are thousands of independent Miracle-Ear franchise locations, all backed by the investments of the corporate giant’s research dollars. The end result is a superior hearing aid line combined with personal service.
- Lots of options and customizations available
- In-person fittings
- Thousands of locations
- Outstanding customer service
- Lifetime customer service
- Offers financial aid for those who need help
- 30-day trial
- 3-year warranty
- Options for mild to severe hearing loss
- Higher priced than most brands of equal quality
- You can’t order online
- You have to visit a location to get pricing
Final Thought: Miracle-Ear offers dependable products with a vast range of options and face-to-face service if you can afford the price tag.
All three of these hearing aid providers got high marks from us, and they all ranked 4.5 stars. It was really a toss-up as to which one we thought was best because each one offered something a bit different. When it came down to it, they each fit a slightly different need.
Eargo is excellent if you’re looking for a hearing aid no one will know you’re wearing. It works best for high frequency, early-stage hearing loss. Also, if you’re into music and sound quality is essential to you, Eargo may be the choice.
Miracle-Ear is marvelous if you want to talk to someone in person and want them to personally fit you with your hearing aid. Some people aren’t comfortable trying to fit it themselves, so a walk-in center is best. Miracle-Ear also has an impressive selection of every style for everything from mild to severe hearing loss and can test your hearing for you.
Embrace Hearing offers a great combination of value for the money with technological advancements, including Bluetooth and programmable capabilities. They consistently get high marks for excellent customer service and support. If you’re comfortable ordering over the phone or Internet, you can get a great set of hearing aids for a reasonable price from Embrace Hearing.
Once you get your hearing aids, make sure you use them daily to truly give them a chance while they are still under warranty and covered by any trial period. If they are adjustable, try different settings. Use them in different environments and under different conditions, such as in a noisy restaurant, while watching television and when carrying on a conversation. Get a feel for how comfortable they are and try to change the batteries. If you have any problems or questions, contact customer service for guidance. The right hearing aids will make daily life more comfortable and enhance it in many ways.