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How to Buy Hearing Aids

The world of hearing aids can be a bit confusing, from different product names and manufacturers to several features and styles. But what exactly should you look for before you purchase these devices?

Noise Control

Majority of new generation hearing aids are equipped with a type of noise reduction algorithm. The best algorithms are capable of distinguishing speech from noise, allowing the hearing aids to suppress incoming noise and highlight incoming speech, both in real time. The degree of hearing help you get depends on the quality of the hearing aids you’re wearing.
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Directional Microphones
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Your hearing aids need to have directional microphones. Directionality is your hearing aids’ ability to focus on a certain sound close to you (a conversation partner in most cases), and is the only proven method by which hearing aids help make speech more comprehensible. In simple terms, a good directional microphone system increases sound crispness and clarity.

The three types of directionality systems are adaptive, fixed and dynamic. Adaptive directionality systems capture the talking of everyone around you and focus on the direction where the speech is coming from. Fixed directional systems target a precise area (generally right in front of you) and remain focused there. Dynamic directional systems instantly move from listening all around you to sounds coming from a permanent direction. When you have your trial, pay attention to how your hearing aids catch voices, and have your provider explain how such devices are set up so that your benefits can be maximized.

Design

Hearing aids are available in a variety of forms and styles, such as:

> RIC (receiver-in-canal), placed behind ear with speaker in ear canal;

> BTE (behind-the-ear), sends sounds to ear with a small tube; and

> IIC (invisible-in-the-canal), custom-made for your ear.

The kind of hearing aid that’s good for you depends on numerous factors, like your comfort, dexterity, degree of hearing loss, or just personal taste.

Feedback

In years past, even individuals with minimal hearing losses have experienced difficulty with a phenomenon referred to as feedback. Feedback is what you get when you hold a microphone very close to a speaker, and a loud sound is produced. All hearing aids today have a feedback control feature, but some work much better than the rest. Great feedback control means a more comfortable user experience, and the devices will also be less noticeable to people around you.

Smart Features

We are now living in a digital world! Television, mobile phones and computers are now becoming increasingly interdependent. Some hearing aids in our day can connect directly to the said devices via Bluetooth(TM) or some other technology. You can even operate these devices with your smartphone (to change settings, for example), so you don’t have to actually touch them.