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What Should I Consider When Buying a Hearing Aid?
By Nicole Wasel, Au.D., F-AAA, CCC-A

Choosing a hearing aid is a big decision that will improve quality of life, relationships, safety and communication ability. When a person first decides to see a hearing professional, it can be stressful and often times they don't know what questions to ask or what to expect as far as price or performance of the hearing device. If you think you might have hearing loss, ask your physician to refer you to an audiologist for a hearing test. Consumer reports (2009) found that patients who saw an audiologist for hearing aids felt the audiologist was more thorough in evaluating hearing loss than other types of providers. You can also take a Quick Online Hearing Screening at betterhearinginstitute.org, to learn if a hearing evaluation would benefit you.

After a hearing health professional has confirmed that you are a candidate for hearing aids, there are several factors to consider before you're ready to buy. Your hearing aid must be a good match for your hearing loss, fit comfortably and be able to adjust to background noise. The following list of factors should help guide you through this process. Take notes and make sure to discuss them with your audiologist!

  • The nature and severity of your hearing loss will influence which hearing aids are ultimately recommended to you.
  • Consider your life, work and free-time activities. What are the things you do that are most affected by hearing loss?
  • How does the hearing aid sound? Not every technological advance benefits every hearing loss - even basic hearing aids can deliver appropriate sound quality.
  • The smallest hearing aids are the most discreet, but they are small. If your eyesight or dexterity are less than what they used to be, size may matter.
  • Hearing aids come in a variety of sizes. Many people are overly concerned about appearance. Remember that others will be far less aware of your aid than you. Most hearing aids are quite discreet.
  • Repair warranty, loss and damage warranty, programming and in-office cleanings are usually bundled into the cost of your hearing aids. Make sure you know what's included!

Nicole Wasel, Clinical Audiologist, Washington Ear, Nose and Throat, can be reached at (724) 225-8995 or audiologist@washingtonent.net or visit www.washingtonent.net.

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