Hearing Aids: Types, Costs , and Prices
Hearing aids can genuinely be a life-changer for those with hearing impairment. While these assistive listening devices don't cure deafness and don't wholly return hearing problems to normal, they offer a significant degree of hearing improvement for most users.
The extent of the advance is dependent on each individual’s level of hearing loss, the hearing loss caused, and the amount of nerve damage to the inner ear.
Remember, though, hearing aids are not for everyone, and it is essential that you find the right hearing aid to ensure that it works just the way you need (Of course, we recommend that you try The Hearing Fix first).
Whether you are looking for cheap hearing aids or trying to find the best hearing aid prices, here are a few simple steps to follow to help you find a hearing aid that does the job to the best extent possible. And don't worry, we have already done all the reviews for you.
What is a Hearing Aid?
First of all, you need to know precisely what a hearing aid is a how it works. Hearing aids are technical hearing devices usually placed inside the ear to help people with hearing problems.
They use a microphone in the electrical device to take in all sound from the surrounding area; then, a speaker amplifies the sound inside the ear.
The volume levels can be changed, depending on how loud or quiet the location is, which determines how loud the sound is amplified into your ear.
Adjusting To A New Hearing Aid
Hearing aids have come a long way since the days of the ear trumpet, but it can still take a new hearing aid user some time to adjust to their new device. While some first-time hearing aid users have no problem adjusting to their new device, it can even be a difficult transition for others.
Many hearing aids entirely or partially block the ear canal, causing unsettling sound reverberation that requires some getting used to for those with mild to moderate high-frequency hearing loss.
Known as the occlusion effect, most users adjust to it after a few days, but some find that they can never adapt and give up on the devices.
For those that don't, there are hearing aids options that reduce or eliminate the occlusion effect, such as open fit hearing aids, invisible in canal hearing aids, or most recently, our own oral hearing loss treatment, The Hearing Fix. In addition to the occlusion effect, the addition of amplified background noises for the first time can also be unsettling for some.
For others, the initial fit and discomfort of the hearing aid can also be a source of irritation. While it is usually something that simply requires an adjustment period, it can also be remedied with an adjustment to the fitting by your clinician.
If you are looking for a hearing aid for the first time, be prepared to face some initial and possibly ongoing discomfort and inconvenience. Below are a few quick tips to assist you in your transition.
- Wear your hearing aid several times a day in 30-minute intervals
- Reduce the background noise in your environment by turning off unnecessary appliances and closing windows.
- Talk to yourself to adjust to the new sound of your voice.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. Try to identify and recognize new sounds you may not have heard in a long time.
- Make a gradual transition to noisier environments as you adjust to your new hearing device.
- If there is any pain or the feeling of discomfort persists over several days, consult your hearing aid dispenser.
Types of Hearing Aids
With the immense progress made in hearing aid technology over the last half a century, there is an overwhelming array of different assistive listening devices and both analog and digital sound technologies to choose from.
While your audiologist can help you assess your situation and choose the most suitable machine for your level of hearing loss and budget, below is a brief overview of the most common types of hearing aids today.
Behind The Ear Hearing, Aids (BTE) The ear hearing aids consist of a small curved plastic case that sits behind the ear and a small piece of tubing that runs from the behind the ear device to a customized earmold that rests over the ear canal.
The electronic control circuitry, including the microphone, amplifier, and receiver, open-fit all rest in the housing case behind the ear.
The advantage of these hearing devices is that they are easily accessible and controlled. Compared to the other hearing aids, these provide the most potent sound amplification. People of all ages can wear hearing aids, but they are usually designed for children (due to a growing body) and those with severe hearing loss.
Open Fit Hearing Aids Like standard behind the ear hearing aids, the open fit devices consist of a housing case that rests behind the ear and a tube that runs to the ear bowl.
In contrast to BTE devices, available fit hearing aids don't have a silicone mold that remains over the ear bowl. Instead, the tubing ends in a tiny tip that allows a more natural sound and eliminates the occlusion effect.
Additionally, open-fit hearing aids boast a minor case and thinner tubing, making them more comfortable than traditional BTE hearing aids.
In-The-Ear Hearing Aids These are the most common, more minor, than hearing aids currently in use. These aids fit into the inner and outer ear. They can be used for all types of hearing loss, from mild inconvenience to somewhat profound hearing loss.
They have a more stable fit than the behind-the-ear style and offer a more straightforward setup. They are reported not to be affected by wind noise near as much as the behind-the-ear types.
All in-the-ear hearing aids parts are contained in a single unit, do not have multiple pieces or wires, and are generally considered easier to manage.
ITE hearing aids are molded to fit in your outer ear bowl. Some of the newer iterations are extremely small and lightweight ht.
Though in-the-ear hearing aids are visible from the side and sometimes even from the front, they contain no external wires or tubes and are suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss. A few newer ITE hearing aids may be appropriate for more profound hearing loss.
In-The-Canal Hearing Aids (ITC) & Completely In The Canal (CIC) Hearing Aids These excellent hearing aids have some serious advantages as well as a few drawbacks. As the name describes, inner canal hearing aids rest inside the ear canal. This provides a hearing aid that can hardly even be seen by others.
The downsides of these are that they are generally not recommended for those with severe hearing loss as the small size reduces the ability to amplify sound. While hearing aids are extremely small, lightweight, and visually unobtrusive in the canal, usage is limited to those with ear canals of adequate size.
The ITC hearing aid class includes two hearing aid types: partially in the ear canal hearing aids and entirely in the canal hearing aids. Both ITC and CIC devices are invisible when looking face to face with the wearer but can generally be seen if the viewer looks directly into the ear.
Hearing aids produce a more substantial occlusion effect than other hearing aid types. Thus, they are generally not recommended for those with good low-frequency hearing. ITC and CIC hearing aids are appropriate for both mild and moderately severe hearing loss.
Invisible Hearing Aids (IIC) Invisible In Canal Hearing Aids (IIC) are a CIC hearing aid that fits more profoundly into the ear canal. This discreet invisible design renders it invisible to the outside observer, even those observers looking directly into the side of the ear.
Because of its placement deep in the ear canal, adjustment of IIC devices is usually performed wirelessly, with some models allowing the user to utilize their mobile phone to adjust memory or volume.
These hearing aids usually use venting technology to reduce the occlusion effect and allow a more natural hearing experience.
Major Hearing Aids Manufacturers
Below is a list of reputable companies that produce hearing aids. These companies offer a wide range of devices equipped with the latest technology and backed by solid warranties.
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Hearing Aids Prices & Cost
Hearing aid cost will vary widely depending on the type of hearing aid, the insurance coverage available in your jurisdiction, and the pricing arrangements of your dispenser for fitting. In the United States, most private health care coverage does NOT cover hearing aids.
In some states, vocational rehabilitation programs can provide financial assistance for significant hearing loss. While cheap hearing aids can be ordered online for as little as $200, these generally have issues with over-amplification of low-frequency background noise as well as a comfortable fit.
A general price range for a single hearing aid can range from $500 to $6000, though high-end devices can often cost significantly more.
The one exception we have found is Century Hearing Aids. When selecting a hearing aid, keep in mind that every form of hearing loss is unique; thus, you must consult with an ENT specialist and audiologist to choose the right hearing aid for you. While there may be an initial adjustment period, assistive listening devices have the power to change lives.
The most important part of the adjustment period is to be patient and simply focus on enjoying your new world of auditory experiences if you are one of the lucky ones that hearing aids work for.