Making a hearing aid purchase is an important decision. Selecting a device can be daunting with the variety of options, features and styles available to individuals today. Once a selection has been made, the next step to consider is what hearing aid accessories will compliment your device.
There are numerous choices available in today’s market, before purchasing it is good practice to see which accessories are compatible with your hearing aid. In addition, it’s important to consider the difference between basic, everyday accessories and optional ones, which might be more of a convenience than a need.
Basic hearing aid accessories
In terms of must-have hearing aid accessories, batteries top the list. While some manufacturers offer rechargeable hearing aids, the majority of devices require disposable hearing aid batteries.
Hearing aid batteries are available in four different sizes and are dependent upon which style and size of hearing aid an individual uses. The four common sizes hearing aids come in, from smallest to largest are: 10, 312, 13 and 675.
To combat confusion and make it easier for the hearing aid wearer to purchase batteries, the four different sizes are generally color coded. While size 10 hearing aid battery packages are usually color-coded yellow, size 312 are marked with a brown color, size 13 are designated by an orange color and size 675 is labeled using blue.
Hearing aid batteries are a required accessory as the device relies on them to function. The life of a hearing aid battery depends on a number of factors, including: size and features of the hearing technology and hours of daily use. Based on 16 hours of daily use, on average, a hearing aid battery will last anywhere from five to 14 days.
Because hearing aid batteries are an ongoing purchase with hearing devices, check with your hearing healthcare professional regarding battery clubs for purchasing batteries on a monthly basis. It is advised to always carry back-up hearing aids in the event your device stops working.
Other basic accessories are often provided by your hearing healthcare professional when a hearing device is purchased and generally assist in cleaning and storing the hearing technology.
Wax prevention tools or kits are used to help stop or slow recurring, damaging amounts of earwax from forming in the canal and then clogging the ports of a hearing aid. These are usually composed of drops you put in your ear and are used daily.
- Hearing aid cleaning brush: these are specifically designed for certain types of hearing aids, like in-the-ear devices. They generally have a soft brush tip end to clean the body, faceplate or sound port of a hearing device. Also, some brushes can be purchased with a magnetic battery removal tool to ease daily cleaning of aids.
- Ear hook, wax pick and wire loop: these are sometimes sold separately or can be included on a hearing aid cleaning brush. This tool is designed to help remove wax and other debris from hearing aid nooks and holes.
- Multitool: these tools are generally available through a hearing healthcare provider and are versatile because they usually provide all of the above options in one structure. It usually consists of a hearing aid brush, hook or loop and generally has a magnetic end to help with hearing aid battery removal.
- Hearing aid case: Most hearing healthcare professionals provide or offer a case for hearing aid devices so individuals can store them at night or when not in use. These storage cases help keep additional debris or moisture from reaching the hearing device.
Many basic hearing aid accessories are made for specific devices and styles; discuss options with a hearing healthcare practitioner to determine if they’re suitable for your device.
Optional hearing aid accessories
While batteries and cleaning equipment are basic essentials for every hearing aid wearer, there are other accessories available which might make caring for the device easier.
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, moisture is the most common cause of hearing aid malfunction. To allow the different components of your hearing aid to dry at night, it is good practice to take the batteries out and leave the compartment open. A hearing aid dehumidifier is an additional accessory available for purchase and helps remove moisture from your device. They are generally inexpensive and can help increase the longevity of the hearing aid.
Bluetooth streaming devices are also accessories available to hearing aid users. Most advanced hearing devices are already Bluetooth compatible, which makes it easy to connect wirelessly to various devices, such as cell phones, music players and televisions.
In addition most hearing aid manufacturers offer equipment which can connect and make it more convenient for wearers to enjoy the television or use the telephone.
Hearing aid accessories for lifestyles
There are numerous hearing aid accessories tailored to more specific lifestyles. For individuals who enjoy the outdoors, swimming and other moisture-rich activities, sweatbands can be purchased. These types of accessories generally have clips and enable hearing aid wearers to participate in their sports or physical activities and keep devices clean, dry and prevent them from falling out.
Hearing aid charms also are available through a number of companies. These were initially designed to give hearing devices a more personal touch, encouraging individuals who may be hesitant about the aesthetics of wearing one.
These are often brightly colored and come in a variety of shapes and sizes, like hearts, stars, animals, flowers or sports equipment.
Purchasing a hearing aid is only the first step to hearing better and incorporating the device into your lifestyle.
Hearing aid accessories are available to provide users with a wide range of options and functions to additionally support their experience with a device.
Before purchasing any accessory for a particular device, it is important to consult with a hearing health professional to ensure the selection is compatible.
- Keeping your hearing aids clean, Oticon, http://www.oticon.com/support/hearing-aids/care-and-maintenance/cleaning.aspx
- Game plans for athletes with hearing aids, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, http://www.asha.org/Publications/leader/2004/041005/041005d.htm