Top Ten Things You Should Know Before Buying Hearing Aids
If a hearing aid isn’t comfortable you won’t wear it! That’s simple enough, but you should know that achieving a comfortable hearing aid fit is easier than ever with today’s hearing aid styles and technology. Here is some basic information about Clear Hearing Express Hearing Aid styles when considering which type may provide the best fit for you:
COMMON HEARING AID TERMS:
BTE Behind the Ear – People enjoy instant comfort and the most natural feel with our new Open Ear Mini. It is one of the smallest BTE’s made anywhere in the World, and sits snug behind the ear with a thin plastic tube that slips easily inside the ear canal without plugging the ear canal off. This avoids any need to custom mold or fit you with the device – hence the cost is less. Over 50% of all Hearing Aid Market sales are Open Ear style devices. The majority of our customers prefer this style because they don’t like the feel of having their ears closed off, or “occluded”.
Silicone ITE (In The Ear) – Clear Hearing Express’s Uni-Fit) Hearing Aids are made of a soft silicone material that gives you one of the most comfortable fits for an ITE (In The Ear) device. Most people select an ITE because they are close to invisible in appearance. The silicone material has an added advantage of forming more naturally to your ear canal as it achieves body temperature.
Custom Fit – Clear Hearing Express Custom Fits are always the sure way to get the perfect fit you want, or if you are having difficulty getting a comfortable fit from any other styles. Simply send us molds of your ears, or call us and we can direct you to a clinic that can do this for you. We will have a custom pair made for you in any configuration you desire. Our most popular style is the very small and discreet in the canal style. Call us for assistance.
CIC - Completely In Canal. This is the smallest and most invisible hearing aid technology available
#2 100% Digital Hearing Aid Technology
There are two basic technologies you will find in a hearing aid:
Analog technology is old technology that has largely become a thing of the past. Some companies maintain an analog product line due to its simplicity for fitting and lower cost. Analog hearing aid technology simply amplifies sound and has very limited abilities for fine tuning to one’s actual hearing loss pattern.
100% Digital Hearing Aid Technology has taken over 90% of the market because they can be programmed to a person’s precise hearing loss. Digital technology also offers many other valuable benefits. Here is a brief description of common digital features available:
Decibels (dB) of Gain – The higher the number of Gain, the wider the range a hearing aid covers for hearing loss. Use this number as a reference point when shopping. The essential idea is to buy what you need to cover your hearing loss pattern. Shopping purely by high numbers can lead to overpaying, or in some cases, buying a larger, and therefore more visible device to get the higher power.
Multi-Channel, Multi-Band Technology – Most digital hearing aid manufacturers promote the number of channels and bands their devices feature. The idea behind all the marketing is that more channels and more bands equates to a higher performance device. While this is technically true, Clear Hearing Express wants consumers to understand that the practical “Hearing” reality for most people is that a comparison between a device featuring 16 channels and 32 bands won’t be discernable over a device with 8 channels and 16 bands. Channels are independent amplifiers that can be tuned to amplify a specific sound frequency range. Bands are an equalizer adjustment within the channel. This is similar to your home stereo adjustments like bass, mid-range, and treble.
Automatic Feedback Cancellation – Cancels “whistling” and most high-pitched noise associated with feedback when the hearing aid is not properly seated in the ear canal, or when the device comes in close range with other electronics.
Background Noise Reduction – This technology automatically enhances speech while simultaneously reducing noisy background environments such as restaurants, malls, crowds, etc.
Note: There are hundreds of 100% digital hearing aids on the market and most of them perform quite good. Even though there are so many choices, they fall in three categories:
Entry Level - This is designed for a new user. Power capacity is designed for mild to moderate hearing loss. Basic programming allows tuning to one’s hearing loss pattern. Basic features typically contain feedback cancellation and background reduction technology.
Advanced - Depending on the style, this level of technology is used for all levels of hearing loss. An “advanced” device offers excellent fine tuning for one’s specific hearing needs. These hearing aids use more expensive circuitry to achieve better performance in feedback cancellation and background noise reduction technology.
Premium - This technology is also used for all levels of hearing loss. Premium technology offers the most advanced fine-tuning and programmability circuitry of any hearing technology. A higher number of multi-channel, multi-band features are offered. Premium circuits function much like a graphic equalizer on a high-end stereo system. You can have the hearing aid tuned exactly to your hearing loss and/or to your optimal hearing preference. You will experience the very best performance in hearing speech despite background noise. This is the most comfortable and clear hearing aid technology you can get.
Analog hearing aids cannot be programmed or re-programmed. Some digital hearing aids also cannot be programmed or reprogrammed. Other digital hearing aids can be programmed once, but not reprogrammed. There is another type of technology that is a hybrid of analog and digital technology. This was popular in the late 1990’ and some companies still offer it.
Buyer beware that the reason is that companies sometimes try to offer this older and less expensive technology as a means to step people up to higher priced hearing aid models.
At Clear Hearing Express, we focus on only 100% Premium digital hearing aid technology. Most every model we sell is fully programmable and reprogrammable. We have been able to significantly lower hearing aid costs and want to pass these savings directly to the public.
This is one of the nicest benefits of modern hearing aid technology. There are many options for hearing aids that are virtually, if not completely invisible. The new Open Ear device is incredibly small and almost invisible. The smaller in the canal (ITC) and completely in the canal (CIC) models are also virtually invisible. Call our hearing professionals for more details on these and other styles and they will help you select which type of hearing aid would be best for you.
#5 Value & Price
Remember the old wisdom “You get what you pay for…”? This can be a great challenge in today’s market. It is no longer accurate that you have to spend more to get more. This is why Clear Hearing Express encourages you to shop carefully before committing to a purchase. What most people are looking for is VALUE.
The key to getting the best Value in hearing aids is as follows:
A. Become informed about your own hearing needs
B. Become informed about product choices and technology features
C. Narrow your choices around which companies are offering the best prices and service for the hearing aid models you are most interested in.
D. Group similar products and features together for a price comparison – “Compare Apples to Apples, etc.”
E. Interview companies and double check whether their information is accurate and reliable.
At first, this task may seem daunting, but with a little concentrated effort, you greatly increase the chances of getting the best valued product for your money!
For more than 50 years, the Hearing Industry has sold hearing aids almost exclusively through “Medical Dispensary” businesses such as hearing clinics and centers. The Industry has just recently opened up to more “Direct to Consumer” Dispensary Models. This is good for consumers, but requires more careful consideration when making a purchase. Fortunately, the Internet provides an easy place to research and learn about your hearing aid options.
Even though most digital hearing technology is very comparable with many affordable options, some dispensers get caught up in the sales pitch of expensive hearing aid manufacturers even though there are many leading hearing aid companies that offer comparable and in some cases, same or better technology as what others are charging much more for.
#6 Hearing Test
Although Clear Hearing Express offers an entry level, non-programmable hearing aid product that doesn’t require a hearing test, we strongly encourage you to obtain a professional audiogram, or hearing test through one of our Hearing Specialists, or local Audiologist. An audiogram is your personal hearing loss pattern that can be used to program Clear Hearing Express Hearing Aids to your exact preference.
Clear Hearing Express also offers hearing aids with a 4-button memory pre-set feature which gives you four automatically adjusted frequency settings that cover selected hearing environments. With just the push of a little button on the hearing aid you can change between your settings when in different listening environments.
Any time you perceive your hearing has changed, we can reprogram the hearing aid to fit you needs.
#7 Quality & Manufacturing: Product Life & Performance
When considering a hearing aid purchase, make sure that the company’s manufacturing is done in FDA (Food & Drug Administration) and preferably ISO (International Organization for Standardization) compliant facilities. These international manufacturing standards will insure that you are getting the best quality available and that your hearing aids are built to last. Well-manufactured hearing aids will generally last 7-15 years depending on wear and care of your hearing aids.
Always deal with reputable companies with good warranty and service plans so that they will easily handle any problem situation which may arise. Hearing aids contain complex electronic circuitry that is susceptible to things like wax buildup and moisture – the two leading causes of device failure. It is important that you pay attention to warranties and follow advice on maintenance so your aids will be dependable.
Again read service and warranty agreements to make sure everything is clear and in writing. FDA registered hearing aid companies following standard manufacturing and repair policies, work procedures, and quality controls are always the best to deal with to make sure you can always get the service you need.
Service plans will vary widely, and because servicing hearing aids is a necessity, you need to understand what will be covered under each plan.
#9 Warranty, Parts & Labor
Standard warranty for hearing aids industry-wide is one (1) year to cover parts and labor. Most standard warranties don’t cover moisture or wax problems. Cleaning or drying off your hearing aids at night before putting them away is the best way to avoid service problems. Note that loss or damage of hearing aids is not standard on most hearing aid purchases, but is readily available direct from Clear Hearing Express and most reputable manufacturers. Beware that some hearing aid companies charge high and even exorbitant prices on hearing aids, then offer a 2-3 year warranty included. It is often more prudent financially to buy the hearing aids more affordably and then purchase additional warranties you want direct from the manufacturer (when available).
#10- Battery Life
• Battery life ranges from 140 hours on smaller sizes to 180 hours on larger sizes. Or 1-2 weeks depending on size and based on wearing them for a 10-12 hour day.
• Open your battery door at night to disconnect the power and maintain longest battery life.
• Standard hearing aid batteries come in four main sizes:
10a - Yellow Coding For small in the ear & mini behind the ear hearing aids.
312 - Brown Coding For larger canal aid & mid size behind the ear hearing aids.
13 - Orange Coding For large full shell in the ear & behind the ear hearing aids.
675 - Blue Coding For very seldom used, very large, powerful behind the ear hearing aids
Struggling with Hearing? Get the Best Solution for You
Hearing aids have helped people struggling with hearing loss for a long time. Consumers today look for the best hearing aids available when it comes time to buy. When shopping for top rated devices consumers rely on several factors including:
- Customer Rated Reviews
- Recommendations by Top Rated Doctors
- Top of the Industry Studies
If you are in the market for a hearing aid for yourself or a loved one then chances are you are going to want to buy the best, top rated product on the market so you can enjoy the best results.
Hearing Aid History
The first hearing aids were enormous, horn-shaped trumpets with a large, open piece at the top that collected sound. The top trumpet gradually tapered into a thin tube that funneled the sound into the ear. In 1886, Thomas Edison invented the carbon transmitter, which changed sounds into electrical signals that could travel through wires and be converted back into sounds. This technology was used in the first carbon-type hearing aids which were introduced in 1898 by the Dictograph Company. For more than 100 years now, hearing aids have continued to change and adapt with the introduction of new technology and new demands from hearing aid users.
Top Rated Hearing Aids
With all the changes that hearing aids have gone through over the last century, perhaps the biggest change came with the introduction of digital hearing aids. Digital hearing aids use digital rather than analog processing. So if you are looking for the best option out there, then a digital device is the way to go. Most of the top rated hearing aids available to consumers today are digital devices. Why is digital the best? It has to do with the technology behind these top of the line devices.
The Best Technology
Digital hearing instruments are able to create advanced signal processing schemes that non-digital instruments simply aren't capable of. Additionally, digital instruments can perform multiple sound processing and management tasks efficiently and simultaneously. For example, digital technology has the capability of determining which signals are most speech-like and which sounds are noises. Once a digital hearing aid determines differences it can be programmed to essentially amplify the speech-like noises, while reducing unwanted background noises for the best listening experience. It is the programmability of digital devices that make them the best option for most people. Their top rated feature is their ability to control and manage feedback. If you want the best product and the best results, a top rated digital device from Clear Hearing Express is your best option.