How to compare hearing aid features. Dr. Cliff AuD discusses which 11 hearing aid features you should compare between brands and which 4 features you shouldn't in this video.
Let's cover the 11 Features you should use when comparing hearing aids.
1. Hearing aid style - There are several types of hearing aid styles from Invisible aids that are hidden in the ear canal (IICs) to powerful behind the ear (BTE) styles. You even have hearing aids that are called "fashion aids" that are designed to be aesthetically pleasing.
2. Amplification Capabilities - The perfect hearing aid style won't matter if it doesn't have the capability of meeting your hearing loss prescription. If you have a profound hearing loss, you won't be able to wear a tiny invisible device. You should always consider amplification capabilities when comparing devices.
3. Color - You have three approaches when considering color. Either you want them to be invisible, you don't care what they look like, or you want them to be fashionable. Either way, there are many hearing aid colors.
4. Telecoil - Telecoils are amazing pieces of wireless technology. They can help you connect to Looped facilities like Churches and Theaters. They can also help you hear better on a phone that is Telecoil ready. If you have a substantial hearing loss, you would be silly to overlook the telecoil.
5. IP Rating - An IP68 is the highest rating you can get. The first number indicates dust and particulate resistance (6). The second number is the moisture resistance (8). Most hearing aids will be very close to IP68, but it is smart to make sure.
6. Batteries - Disposable vs. Rechargeable hearing aid batteries. Disposable have been reliable for years, Rechargeable are changing the game in terms of convenience. Either way, make sure you understand the pros and cons of each.
7. Battery Size - If you do select disposable, you have a variety of sizes to choose from. The smaller the battery, the shorter the battery life. However, smaller batteries usually afford you a smaller hearing aid. Just make sure you identify if size or power are most important.
8. Phone connectivity - Soon all hearing aids will have the capability of streaming directly from a smartphone. Until then, you have to decide if you want direct streaming which requires an iPhone, or if you want to use a phone streamer that can connect with any smartphone. There are hearing devices that can stream directly from Android, but only phone calls, and only to one ear.
9. Tinnitus Feature - If you have tinnitus, you may want to consider a tinnitus masker inside of your hearing aids. There are a variety of tinnitus masking styles so make sure you evaluate them all before making a decision.
10. Push button availability - Most hearing aids have push button availability. However, you may want more than just a push button for program changes. You may also want a volume control. To allow for these features, you may need a larger hearing aid. Or, you can change these with a smartphone on most hearing aids.
11. Accessories - Different hearing aids have access to different accessories. Make sure you consider which accessories you may need or want and select a hearing aid that has access to these accessories.
There are a lot of features worth comparing, however, there are also 4 features that you shouldn't compare.
1. Channels - Beyond a certain point, more channels does not equal better performance. Even the most experienced hearing aid user wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a 38 channel and 48 channel hearing aid.
2. Feedback Cancelers - All major hearing aid brands have good feedback cancellation. The biggest factor that will determine how much feedback you get will be the physical fit of the devices, and that is largely the responsibility of your hearing care provider.
3. Noise Reduction - Comparing noise reduction capabilities between manufacturers can be done, but the differences are minimal.
4. Any Trademarked Feature - All manufacturers name their features differently, but most of them do the same thing. You may feel that one name is more catchy than another, but this doesn't mean that it will perform any better.
It always helps to have a resource for compare hearing aid features. At HearingTracker.com you can easily compare hearing aid features using their "Help Me Choose" personalized Hearing Aid Match Survey. Just fill out the survey and your personalized hearing aid recommendation will help you identify the right hearing aid for you. https://www.hearingtracker.com/hearing-aids/personalized-match-survey
Just remember, this is just a starting point. You will need to consult with a hearing care professional to determine candidacy.