I hate it when I purchase something and it has so many buttons, bells and whistles that half of them go unused. I just want the thing to work. It can be sparkly. It can be pretty to look at. But really, I want to know that my money was well spent and that the thing does what it’s supposed to. I think that people with hearing loss want the same thing from their hearing aids. Manufacturers can talk all day about the new sound processing or the latest microchip or the “best in class” this or that, but when it comes down to it, people really just want to know one thing: Does it work?
Don’t get me wrong, there are many great features available in hearing aids today. The technology advancements in the past several years have been truly amazing. Manufacturers truly have listened to their customers and have worked hard to give people what they want in a hearing aid. The main goal of any technology, though, is to improve hearing and make it as easy to do so in as many environments as possible.
So, how do you know what features (i.e., “bells and whistles”) you should be looking for in a hearing aid? Are there some features that are more important than others? You might be surprised to hear that it is actually more important to work with well-informed audiologist than to worry about the features in the hearing aid you purchase. It really doesn’t matter if your hearing aid has all the latest and greatest features if you don’t need them or want them. What your audiologist will do when you first meet with her or him is discuss what difficulties you are experiencing and in what situations you’d like to hear better. You will need to place your trust in your audiologist to be able to openly discuss the difficulties you have been experiencing with your hearing loss and the communication difficulties it has created for you. Being open and frank about the impact your hearing loss has on your spouse, your family and friends, as well as your performance at work is critical to your success. Then, using the information obtained from diagnostic testing, the audiologist will determine what hearing aid and what features will best suit both your hearing loss and your needs and wants.
Placing your trust in someone you’ve just met is a difficult thing to do. You may have a bad experience in the past that makes you want to be cautious. You should be cautious. By all means, do your homework before you choose your audiologist. Talk to your doctor about who they recommend. Ask your friends or family members who they see. Look at the audiologist’s website to see what their educational background is. Are they professional? Does what they say about themselves and their clinic fit with what you are looking for? Do they give you a clear reason why you should select them? What sets them apart from the other professionals in the area? Is their website an information resource?
In the end, the hearing aid technology itself will be successful for you when you work alongside an audiologist who is interested in working together as a team and who is dedicated to your success. Don’t get bogged down in the many choices hearing aids offer today. Make an appointment with your audiologist and trust that he or she is going to find the very best choice for you. You’ll be glad you did.