Ask An Audiologist: What are the differences between a hearing aid’s performance levels?
While watching a documentary, Moru Lien profoundly remembers a scene where a baby could hear for the first time thanks to an assistive listening device. The raw emotions in the scene triggered a reaction within Moru, who dreamed of being able to help more people in the hearing loss community. With a goal of bringing quality to the lives of people suffering from hearing loss, Moru finished her studies in Communication Disorder Science before she pursued a Doctorate in Audiology.
Today, with more than 12 years of audiological experience in the hearing aid industry, we ask Moru:
What are the differences between a hearing aid’s performance levels? Does a hearing aid with a higher performance have more benefits for me?
When considering purchasing a hearing aid, two factors are equally important:
- the functionalities of the hearing aid
- and how the hearing aid helps you in your daily life.
What benefits can a high performing hearing aid bring me?
When it comes to high performance levels, these hearing aids are naturally equipped with more channels which can provide better sound processing as well as have more features packed into the device.
For example, a hearing aid with a higher performance level is equipped with situational performance of noise reduction and directionality. This means that the device can automatically scan the environment you are in and change the span of the microphone to pick up sounds only in certain directions. This thus reduces distracting noises which might overwhelm a wearer.
With this same feature, the hearing aid can also differentiate several listening situations (i.e. a car, the outdoors, speech in noise), to provide different processing profiles. This leads to a better speech understanding for the wearer in challenging situations.
Cheapest Product versus Optimal Performance
Instead of choosing a suitable hearing aid based on their hearing loss and individual lifestyle, consumers frequently ask for the cheapest product. By only considering the price, the consumer may have overlooked the best fitting device suitable for their needs. This may just trigger a cycle of:
- Discomfort when fitting or inability to address the needs of their individual lifestyles.
- Deeming the hearing aid as useless and tossing it aside instead of wearing it frequently. It is important to wear the hearing aids for at least 8 hours a day to get use to them!
- Hearing loss might deteriorate further over time if you do not take the correct steps to protect your hearing loss.
- Resorting to buying another hearing aid.
And the cycle goes on!
When choosing a hearing aid, the quality of life which you want to achieve must be the key focus when you make your decision. Remember, you should buy the hearing aids that fits YOU and your lifestyle.
We encourage you to always visit a hearing care professional for a fitting consultation! The hearing care professional will advise you on the suitable performance level and features for your lifestyle, and recommend the best hearing aid to suit your budget.
If you feel that you are having problems with your hearing and would like to find out more, you can use our handy Store Locator to find your nearest hearing care professional!