Contact ApriaHome at (800) 780-1508

Save 15% on your next order


Hearing Aids: Everything You Need to Know Before Buying One

Hearing Aids: Everything You Need to Know Before Buying One

Apria Editorial |

If you are experiencing hearing loss, you might be wondering if hearing aids can help you. A hearing aid is a device that amplifies sound and makes it easier for you to hear. They can improve your quality of life, communication, and social interactions. But how do you know if you need a hearing aid, what types are available, how much they cost, and how to use them effectively? In this article, we will answer all these questions and more.

What are hearing aids and how do they work?

Hearing aids are electronic devices that consist of three main parts: a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. The microphone picks up the sound waves from the environment and converts them into electrical signals. The amplifier increases the strength of these signals and adjusts them according to your hearing needs. The speaker delivers the amplified sound to your ear through a tube or a wire.

Hearing aids can be classified into two main categories: analog and digital. Analog hearing aids process the sound waves as they are, without any modification. They are cheaper and simpler than digital hearing aids, but they have fewer features and flexibility.

Digital hearing aids convert the sound waves into digital codes, which can be manipulated and customized to suit your preferences and hearing loss. They are more expensive and complex than analog hearing aids, but they offer better sound quality, noise reduction, feedback cancellation, and wireless connectivity.

There are several types of hearing aids, usually categorized by their styles or designs, depending on how they fit in or behind your ear. The most common types are:

- Behind-the-ear (BTE): These hearing aids have a plastic case that sits behind your ear and a tube that connects to an ear mold that fits in your ear canal. They are suitable for mild to profound hearing loss and can accommodate larger batteries and more features.

- Receiver-in-the-canal (RIC): These hearing aids have a similar design as BTE, but the speaker is located in the ear canal instead of the case. They are smaller and more discreet than BTE, but they may be more prone to moisture and wax buildup.

- In-the-ear (ITE): These hearing aids fit entirely in your outer ear. They are larger and more visible than RIC, but they may be easier to handle and adjust. They are suitable for mild to severe hearing loss.

- In-the-canal (ITC): These hearing aids fit partially in your ear canal. They are smaller and less noticeable than ITE, but they may be harder to insert and remove. They are suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss.

- Completely-in-the-canal (CIC): These hearing aids fit completely in your ear canal. They are the smallest and most invisible of all styles, but they may have limited battery life and features. They are suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss.

Shop hearing aids

What are the signs and causes of hearing loss?

Hearing loss is a common condition that affects millions of people around the world. It can occur gradually or suddenly, depending on the cause and severity. Some of the common signs of hearing loss are:

  • Difficulty understanding speech, especially in noisy environments or over the phone
  • Asking others to repeat themselves or speak louder
  • Turning up the volume of the TV or radio
  • Avoiding social situations or feeling isolated
  • Hearing ringing or buzzing sounds in your ears (tinnitus)

There are many possible causes of hearing loss, but they can be broadly divided into two types: conductive and sensorineural.

Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the outer or middle ear that prevents sound from reaching the inner ear. This can be caused by earwax build-up, ear infections, fluid accumulation, perforated eardrum, or abnormal growths or bones in the ear.

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve that carries sound signals to the brain. This can be caused by aging, noise exposure, genetics, diseases, medications, head injuries, or tumors.

Some people may have mixed hearing loss, which is a combination of both types.

How can hearing aids benefit you?

Hearing aids can help you overcome many of the challenges caused by hearing loss. Some of the benefits of wearing hearing aids are:

  • Improved speech comprehension: Hearing aids can amplify the sounds that you need to hear while reducing the background noise that interferes with your understanding.
  • Enhanced communication: Hearing aids can help you communicate better with your family, friends, colleagues, and others. You will be able to participate in conversations more easily and confidently.
  • Increased social engagement: Hearing aids can help you enjoy social activities more fully and avoid feeling isolated or depressed. You will be able to join in the fun and laughter without missing out on anything.
  • Reduced cognitive decline: Hearing aids can help you maintain your mental health and prevent cognitive decline. Studies have shown that untreated hearing loss can increase the risk of dementia, memory loss, and cognitive impairment.
  • Improved quality of life: Hearing aids can help you improve your overall well-being and happiness. You will be able to hear the sounds that matter to you, such as music, nature, or your loved ones' voices.

How to Choose the Right Hearing Aid for You

Choosing a hearing aid is not a one-size-fits-all decision. There are many factors that you should consider before buying one, such as:

Your degree and type of hearing loss: Your hearing care professional will perform a hearing test to determine the extent and nature of your hearing loss. This will help them recommend the most suitable hearing aid for you.

Your lifestyle and preferences: You should think about your daily activities, hobbies, and needs when choosing a hearing aid. For example, if you are active and outdoorsy, you may want a hearing aid that is water-resistant and durable. If you are tech-savvy and enjoy streaming music or phone calls, you may want a hearing aid that is compatible with Bluetooth devices. If you value discretion and comfort, you may want a hearing aid that is small and invisible.

Your budget: Hearing aids vary in price depending on their features, styles, and brands. You should compare different options and find out what is included in the cost, such as warranty, service, repairs, batteries, and accessories. You should also check if your insurance covers any part of the expense or if there are any financing options available.

Now that over the counter hearing aids have become available in America, you no longer need a prescription to purchase the best hearing aids for you. Lexie, manufactured by Bose, offers self-fitting over the counter hearing aids at a reasonable cost.

Your expectations: You should have realistic expectations about what hearing aids can and cannot do for you. Hearing aids can improve your hearing, but they cannot restore it to normal. They may take some time to get used to and require regular maintenance and adjustments. You should be patient and committed to wearing them consistently and following your hearing care professional's advice.

How can you find a reputable hearing care professional?

A hearing care professional is an expert who can help you with your hearing needs. They can perform a comprehensive hearing evaluation, prescribe and fit hearing aids, provide follow-up care and support, and educate you on how to use and care for your devices.

There are different types of hearing care professionals, such as audiologists, otolaryngologists (ENT doctors), or hearing instrument specialists. You should look for one who has the appropriate credentials, experience, reputation, and personality.

You can find a reputable hearing care professional by:

  • Asking for referrals from your primary care physician, family, friends, or others who wear hearing aids
  • Searching online for reviews, ratings, testimonials, or complaints about local providers
  • Visiting different clinics or offices and asking questions about their services, policies, fees, and products
  • Choosing one who listens to your concerns, explains things clearly, offers a variety of options and makes you feel comfortable

How can you get the best fit and performance from your hearing aid?

Getting the best fit and performance from your hearing aid depends on several factors, such as:

The quality of the fitting: Your hearing care professional will adjust your hearing aid according to your hearing test results, feedback, and preferences. They will also check the physical fit of the device in your ear and make sure it is comfortable and secure.

The proper use of the device: You should follow the instructions on how to insert, remove, clean, store, and operate your hearing aid. You should also change the batteries regularly and avoid exposing the device to moisture, heat, or dirt, ongoing care and maintenance: You should visit your hearing care professional regularly for check-ups, cleaning, repairs, or updates. You should also report any problems or changes in your hearing or device as soon as possible.

The adaptation period: You should wear your hearing aid as much as possible during the first few weeks or months to get used to it. You may experience some initial discomfort or difficulties with sound quality or volume. This is normal and will improve over time as your brain adapts to the new sounds.

Hearing Aids Can Help Improve Your Lifestyle

Selecting a hearing aid is a personalized process that should be guided by professional advice and personal preferences. Remember that the right hearing aid can vastly improve your life, so consider all aspects—type, features, aesthetics, and cost—before deciding. With the assistance of a hearing care professional, you can find a hearing aid that fits your lifestyle and meets your hearing needs, allowing you to engage fully with the world around you.

As a leading supplier of durable and home medical equipment (DME and HME), ApriaHome sources and distributes a wide range of treatment solutions, including home medical equipment and hearing aid solutions.

We're here to support you as you work toward your improved health and well-being. We strive to meet your ever-evolving healthcare requirements with individualized attention and premium quality treatment solutions.

Looking to add medical supplies? Browse our premium solutions and let us help you get the most out of every day.

Looking for advice? Our helpful agents are on call at (800) 780-1508 between 8:00 am - and 10:00 pm EST daily. Get in touch today.


LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Material in this newsletter is only: (1) provided for general health education and informational purposes, and to provide references to other resources; it may not apply to you as an individual. While Apria believes that the information provided through this communication is accurate and reliable, Apria cannot and does not make any such guarantee. It is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical advice, evaluation, diagnosis, services or treatment (collectively, "medical treatment"). Please see your healthcare provider for medical treatment related to you and your specific health condition(s). Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read on or accessed through this website. Reading this newsletter should not be construed to mean that you have a healthcare provider/patient relationship with Apria.