Hearing loss affects around 30 million Americans according to the Hearing Loss Association of America.
Many of those people are searching for hearing aids to improve their ability to understand others and enjoy a better life. The question is this: what are the best hearing aids available?
The answer: it depends.
The reason it depends is because there are different types and degrees of hearing loss, as well as different ideas as to what makes a the best hearing aid. Let’s look at both of these factors to reach some conclusions.
Types of Hearing Loss
There are different scales of hearing loss. There’s mild, moderate, and severe. An audiologist will be able to tell you the extent of your condition.
Another factor to consider is that sound comes in many frequencies. Some people with hearing loss have difficulty with hearing middle and/or high frequencies, but hear low frequencies pretty well.
Others may have problems hearing in general.
Both these things will affect the type of hearing aid that is best for you.
What Makes A Hearing Aid “The Best”?
Different customers are attracted to different things when shopping for hearing aids. Here are a range of elements people take into consideration when making a purchase:
- Affordability. All the “bells and whistles” in the world don’t amount to much if you can’t afford to buy it. You can expect to spend anything from $300 to $3,000. Sale prices, buying two (instead of just one), and the type of hearing aid (analog vs. digital; analog is less expensive) are a few things that cause the price to drop.
- Product Quality. On the flip side, all the savings in the world amount to nothing if the product doesn’t work. There are digital and analog models. Analog models may win the price war, but it is at a cost. Digital hearing aids are designed to do the same work as analog, plus automatically adjust the level of sound based on your specific hearing tendencies and noise level. If you’re looking for quality, digital is the way to go.
- Transparency. For many, the most important thing is how noticeable the hearing aid will be. The good news is that they make them really small nowadays for people who are interested. The bad news is that typically as size goes down, so does quality and ease of use. Check out Adesso (from SONIC), MyHearPod, or Aries for some of the smallest, least-noticeable hearing aids around.
- Comfort. Most people plan on wearing their hearing aid most of the time. So if it’s uncomfortable, that clearly is a bad thing. Of course no hearing aid will feel truly, 100% natural (as it is a foreign object, after all.) However, with some hearing aids, you’ll begin to forget you’re wearing one once you get used to it. The best hearing aids for this are probably going to be your in-the-ear models (instead of behind the ear or in the canal).
- Ease of use. Again, the smaller the size, the tinier the controls have to be. It stands to reason then that the easiest models are the largest ones. There are exceptions, however. Some models have a remote control allowing you to leave the hearing aid in place and adjust the settings.