Which are the best hearing aids?
People often ask me, “Which are the best hearing aids for my hearing loss?”
This is the wrong question to ask, in my opinion.
Let me explain why, and then I’ll suggest a better question.
There are websites that compare the major brands of hearing aids. Hearing Mojo has an excellent brand comparison chart. The average person, though, does not know what the features are (channel, band, sound processing platform) or about the relative importance of each feature.
Another approach is to ask others: “What kind of hearing aids do you have? Are you happy with them?” Get a specific brand name, and then go to a hearing care professional and say,” I want this one”.
This is not a good way to shop for hearing aids.
Most hearing care professionals dispense hearing aids from a relatively small number of hearing aid manufacturers. One reason for this is because the hearing care industry is competitive, and the major companies are constantly launching new models, features, and software platforms. It can be difficult to keep up with all the changes if you deal with many different companies.
If you say to a hearing care professional, “My hearing aids are too loud!” there are a gazillion ways to adjust this through the programming software. This is where the art of hearing aid dispensing comes in—the professional asks you questions such as, “Which sounds are too loud? In what listening situations?”
If you say to a hearing care professional, “I want brand XXX,” and he or she is not familiar with the brand, or worse yet, does not like doing business with this particular company, you might not get optimal results. Let’s say the professional doesn’t or can’t dissuade you from brand XXX. So an order is placed for hearing aids for you anyway, to keep your business.
This happened to me once, back in the days when I worked as a dispensing audiologist. I felt backed into a corner, but was willing to try my best. I did not like the company—and because I did not believe in their products, I did not have the same level of confidence in the outcome. The software was difficult to work with—partly because I did not use it regularly. So when the client was dissatisfied, it just confirmed my doubts about the company. Maybe if I had adjusted the software differently the outcome would have been different. Maybe if I had more experience with the product, I would have known how to address the dissatisfaction.
So what is the solution?
Here’s what I think. The better question is, “Who is the best hearing care professional for my hearing loss?” I’ve written a blog about the important questions to ask and things to consider when choosing a hearing care professional.
This is where you do the research. Ask others, and ask lots of questions. If you choose wisely, you will find someone you can trust.
Then, leave the decisions up to the professional. Tell her about your communication difficulties and lifestyle, your expectations and concerns. Then sit back and let her make a recommendation.
At this point, if you trust the person, and also trust your gut in making the right decision in choosing her to take care of you, then you can let go. Let her do her best for you. You also have a part to play, of course. But not in the selection of the specific brand or model, if you ask me.
Photo credit: © Barmina Iva
- ABOUT US
- HEAR BETTER
- LIP READING
- CONTACT US
- Communication Strategies
- Use what you know
- Asking for repetition
- Can't hear when people mumble? Get help from the chameleon effect!
- Teach Others How to Help
- Are You Bluffing?
- Get Beyond Small Talk
- Hear Better in Restaurants
- Communication: a two way street
- How to ask for help so that others will "hear" you
- How Should You Remind People About Your Hearing Loss?
- Educating others about hearing loss
- Pretending to Listen
- Hearing Aids
- Hearing Test
- For Significant Others
- For Hearing Care Professionals
- LACE Coaching for Hearing Care Professionals
- Hearing Strategies coaching for hearing care professionals
- Hearing in Noise is the Holy Grail
- Hearing loss and 'all or nothing' thinking
- Case history question: which ear on the phone?
- Client confidence from LACE training
- Happier relationships: role of the hearing care professional
- Customer service
- Adjusting to hearing loss
- Are Restaurants Way Too Loud?
- Dear 16 Year Old Me
- Disclosing Hearing Loss
- My hearing aids don't work well anymore
- Technology and hearing loss
- The best parts of me
- Turning Point with Hearing Loss
- Upside-Down Thinking
- Ear Candles and Cotton Swabs
- Holiday Season and Hearing Loss
- Focus on Starting
Sign up for the HEARa Newsletter
Hearing Health Care Education Forum and Lunch at the National Arts Centre May 7-8 (Ottawa)
Hearing Strategies for Adults (3 hour class) May 11 (Calgary)
CHHA Conference workshop: LACE Up: How Auditory Training Can Help You to Hear Better in Noise May 24 (Edmonton)