The choice is huge, but which hearing aid should I buy now?

If you are ready for a hearing aid, the next step is of course to buy a hearing aid. You go to a hearing care professional and get information or you look online to see what is for sale. You can see that the range is very large and you may have already made a choice in what you want.

But watch out! A hearing aid should always be selected according to your situation. Think of the type of hearing loss, your special wishes and the financial picture.

Let the following five points of attention help you with the purchase and selection of the best hearing aid for your hearing care professional.

1 – What is your hearing loss?

Hearing aids come in many different forms. Behind the ear, in the ear, with earpieces on a tube or with a very small wire that goes into the ear. One hears a bit worse than the other. If you have a great hearing loss and you hear very poorly, then you need a heavier amplifier. This often means that you need a slightly larger hearing aid. In-the-ear hearing aids can often only handle a limited amplification and are often not suitable if you can still hear the low tones well. Hearing aids with a thin wire and a speaker in the ear are better suited for this.

For example, if you see a very small hearing aid that appeals to you, it may not be suitable for you because it provides insufficient amplification. Each hearing aid has its own specific degree of amplification. This must therefore match your hearing loss.

2 -What is your lifestyle?

It is often the case that when you are in many different listening situations and that you will demand more from your hearing aids. If you like to make or listen to music, a device that reproduces the high tones and the different loudnesses well is very important. If you want to understand children or grandchildren well in a noisy environment or if you have regular meetings and an active lifestyle, you often come across situations where you want to hear speech above the environment. The different hearing aids do this in their own way. One is a bit more advanced in this than the other. Understanding speech in 360 degrees and a special music position can offer a solution.

If you have a simple lifestyle and you spend less time in different listening situations and company, a simple hearing aid may be sufficient, including your motor skills. If you have trouble grasping or checking small things, the style or type of the hearing aid will have to be adjusted accordingly.

3- Should it be less visible?

For many people it is important that the best hearing aid is as invisible as possible. There are different versions of the hearing aids. It is no longer like before that you have to have those big “bananas” behind your ears. In case of severe hearing loss, they are of course slightly larger. Nowadays there are small caps in the ear or small hearing aids behind the ear that go into the ear with a wafer-thin wire (speaker in the ear).

Hearing aids are also offered in different colors to best match your hair color or the color of your glasses. If the cosmetic aspect is less important, you can opt for a normal (behind the ear) hearing aid. These slightly larger hearing aids often also have several options because there is the space to build them in. Consider, for example, an induction loop reception. For example, there is a hearing aid that goes completely in the ear and you really don’t see anything at all (the Lyric).

4 – Are the new techniques valuable to me?

The current best hearing aids have the options to connect to a smartphone, tablet or TV. For example, you can call directly with your telephone so that you can hear the speaker through both hearing aids. With an App, your smartphone is also a remote control and you can listen to (stream) sound directly from your phone, tablet or PC. This is often the standard in the most new devices. Consider, for example, listening to music during work or training, a Zoom or Skype meeting, watching Netflix, etc.

Various accessories are also available for the hearing aids. Whether it concerns solo equipment that can help you with work or study or to hear the TV better. The hearing care professional is always aware of which accessories can be connected to the different hearing aids.

5 – What can it cost?

With hearing aids, it is often the case that quality also has a different price tag. In the Netherlands there is a reimbursement system that is linked to a division into categories. You then speak about categories 1 to 5 and an outside category. Which category you come into depends on the hearing protocol (questionnaires and interview.). Category 5 is the best device that the health insurance reimburses. This means that the devices in the outdoor category are often technically more advanced devices with the latest technology. Most insurers do not provide compensation for this. A few insurers do this under certain conditions. The prices within categories 1 to 5 are determined by the health insurer and they reimburse 75% of this. Then 25% remains as “own contribution”. This price depends on your health insurer. The very best devices with the latest technology are almost always in the outside category. This means that the best hearing aid with the best technology, for example hearing consonants well and understanding well in a company, has a somewhat higher price. So you decide for yourself what you want to spend, taking the above into account.

And now?

To avoid that you can no longer see the forest for the trees, it is best to get information from one of our independent hearing care professionals. They are aware of the brands, types, styles, prices and features of the best hearing aids and can guide you in this great forest. Ask yourself the questions above and submit your questions and wishes to the hearing care professional based on these questions.

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By Yvan Karman