Lower cost hearing aids tend to have less active processors that may or may not be helpful in challenging situations. More expensive hearing aids are supposed to have higher level processors to help patients hear better in noisy places.
I am a fan of the hearing aids that go back behind the ear. I feel this style of hearing aid offers more versatility than the type that go all inside the ear. There are more potential variables that can be utilized: the size of the earpiece or dome, the openness of the ear canal, ability to switch programs manually or use a volume type control, the circuit power and variability, and the distance between the microphone and the open area of the earpiece. There certainly are good reasons to fit the in-the-ear type hearing aids as well: someone who is comfortable with wearing this style and has had them in the past or has limited mobility and feeling in their hands might benefit from the in-the-ear type more.
As a consumer, I recommend the following elements be considered when purchasing hearing aids:
- Find someone who listens to your needs and asks questions about your lifestyle (or takes a thorough history from you)
- Ask what brands/manufacturers of hearing aids the office carries. I like to see at least three manufacturers represented on the list
- Ask for written information (brochures) that tell something about each manufacturer and their products. These brochures should also include a website for you to do some research.
- Make sure you are comfortable working with the person fitting your hearing aids, and ask questions about what is being done to them. A good dispenser will be able to talk to you in terms you can understand.