No matter the severity of your hearing loss, there’s a hearing aid designed to fit your hearing needs, lifestyle and personality. Like most technology, hearing aids vary from economical models that simply amplify sound to more expensive models with wireless technology and state-of-the-art features. You’ll want to do a little bit of research and ask some questions before you determine which is best suited for you, especially if you’re an active individual who’s looking forward to enjoying a recreational summer.
Here are some topics to discuss with your physician or audiologist after you’ve had a thorough hearing evaluation and determined the cause and severity of your hearing loss.
1. Tell them how active you are. If you’d rather be at the ballpark watching the Boys of Summer than on the couch in front of your television, ask if you’re a candidate for the Oticon Agil. Oticon’s Agil family of hearing aids are designed to improve your ability to hear and understand in noisy, crowded environments, such as restaurants and sporting events. The advanced technology decreases the amount of concentration you need to understand so you can relax and enjoy the game. Agil comes in a variety of models, including those that fit inside the ear canal (ITC) as well as those that fit behind the ear (BTE).
Those who enjoy listening to the sportscast on the radio while they’re cheering their team on at the ballpark may appreciate the features of the Oticon Acto. The wireless features of this hearing aid allow the user to connect to other personal electronic devices, such as cell phones, televisions and MP3 players. As with most Oticon hearing aid models, the Acto comes in a variety of styles and colors.
If you’d rather be playing a round of golf or game of tennis than sitting courtside, ask your hearing health professional if an ITC is best for you. Because the receivers are protected by your outer ear, the amount of wind noise you hear is minimized. ITCs are typically easier to use with a telephone and are best for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
2. Inquire about durability. Technology is great, but if you’re an active individual, durability may be even more important. A great example of a durable BTE for those with profound hearing loss is the Oticon Chili. This model is designed with protection against many of hearing aids’ most deadly foes – dirt, moisture and accidental falls. The initial attachments have a unique shock absorbent quality to protect them if they are accidentally dropped, and the Nano coating and internal seal keep moisture and dirt away from the battery and electronic parts.
3. Ask about accessories. There are a variety of hearing aid accessories designed to protect your new device from the elements. Hearing aid sleeves and sweat bands fit neatly over BTE models to keep perspiration and other moisture out, without sacrificing sound quality. Specialized clips and stretch cords attach to your clothing to prevent accidental breakage and loss. And special dehumidifiers, or hearing aid dryers, can prolong the life of your hearing aids by removing any remaining moisture from the device while you sleep at night.
4. Discuss your style preferences. Today, more than four million Americans wear hearing aids and the number is growing daily. Talk to your audiologist about the different styles and colors of hearing aids that are best suited to your hearing loss and level of recreational activity.
Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) and ITC models are virtually invisible to others and work best for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss. Those who want to make a fashion statement may appreciate BTE models, such as Oticon’s Intiga, which come in bold colors like Vivid Lilac and Natural Henna.