Hearing Aids: The Differences Between Entry Level and Top of the Line
Hearing aid technology has changed drastically in recent decades, giving patients more options when it is time to invest in these products. If you are experiencing hearing loss, then you need to work with an experienced audiologist to choose the right hearing aids that support your daily activities.
As you learn more about the hearing aid industry, you will find a range of price points and features. It’s important to note that your results will vary depending on the type of hearing aid you choose. These aids can improve your quality of life, but the best results are only available when you are using hearing aids to match your unique situation.
Hearing Aid Technology Levels
In the past, three levels of hearing aids were available: low-end, mid-range, and high-end. These products were designed based on the level of hearing loss a patient experienced. As the technology has changed, hearing loss manufacturers often use four classifications when categorizing their products:
- Essential: This economy hearing aid design is sometimes referred to as a “basic” hearing aid. If you don’t spend much time in noisy crowds and you enjoy a quiet lifestyle, then an essential model is a great choice. This hearing amplification works well for improving basic one-on-one communication with quiet background noises. The basic/essential hearing aids offer reasonable hearing support at an affordable cost.
- Standard: The next level up adds more technology and features. If you spend time in small groups or environments with background noise, then it is important to choose hearing aids that help you participate in the conversation and feel comfortable despite the noise.
- Advanced: When you spend time in a variety of environmental situations, then you need a hearing aid that can adapt to varying noises and conditions. For example, advanced hearing aids can support with hearing amplification in office settings, restaurants, and even large events like concerts.
- Premium: Do you need optimal hearing in the most demanding environments? Premium hearing aids use the latest industry technology to ensure you can hear exceptionally in every environment you experience. These top-of-the-line hearing aids are worth the price tag if you are focused on both quality and performance.
One of the most common mistakes we see people make is when they get stuck on the price tag. Yes, there is a big difference in the cost of essential vs. premium hearing aids. There are also noticeable differences in the way these products perform in various environments.
Lifestyle: The Most Important Factor When Choosing Hearing Aids
While your level of hearing loss needs to be considered when choosing hearing aids, lifestyle is a more important consideration for ensuring that your equipment will perform well. During your consultation with an experienced audiologist, you will talk about the kind of listening situations you experience regularly.
The more demand you have on your hearing throughout the day, the higher-quality device you need. While budget is always a consideration when choosing hearing aids, don’t make the mistake of choosing a lower-end product that won’t fit your activities and needs. Ultimately, you want the best aids you can afford for your lifestyle.
Features Available in Top of the Line Hearing Aids
All hearing aids can offer hearing amplification, but there are specific features built-in to top-of-the-line hearing aids that make these products outshine the basic models. Here are some of the unique features that can be included in high-end hearing aids:
- Bluetooth Connection: You can easily connect your hearing aids to any Bluetooth enabled devices such as a smartphone, stereo, or TV. This feature simplifies your media time, helping you hear the words in your favorite podcast, album, or TV show.
- Dual Microphones: Technology features can be used to improve location detection by transmitting sounds to both ears.
- Directional Microphones: When you are listening to someone talk in a noisy environment, these microphones help you focus on a specific voice in a crowd. The directional features are also beneficial so you can enjoy an expansive hearing range in various conditions.
- Programs: It can be a challenge to fumble with your hearing aids when you enter a new environment. Instead, leverage the benefit of listening programs that automatically adjust the sound levels when you are on the go.
- Automated Adjustments: Modern, high-end hearing aids can come with features that automatically adjust for unexpected sounds such as wind or a sudden burst of noises.
While these features are mostly available in premium models, some of the mid-range hearing aids include some of these benefits as well.
Personalized Hearing Aid Recommendations
Today’s hearing aid technology gives you access to products that are smaller, more effective, and simpler to use. The features available in modern hearing aids are unlike anything offered in the past, ensuring your comfort and quality all day long.
While it is good to have options, it also makes it a challenge when you need to choose hearing aid products. As you are exploring the variety of solutions in this industry, it’s smart to talk to an expert about the way these features will fit your lifestyle.
There isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” solution for every patient. These hearing aid models are designed to accommodate different hearing levels, activities, and lifestyles. The more advanced features included in your hearing aid, the higher the price tag will be. The ideal approach is to consider your common daily activities, then find a hearing aid with all the features that support your preferred lifestyles.
Like any other purchase, you “get what you pay for” when you are shopping for hearing aids. These tools are important for supporting your communication and personal interactions. So, it is worth the investment to ensure that you choose hearing aids that accommodate your unique lifestyle.
When you are talking to our team about hearing aid selection, we encourage you to consider the situations that cause the most problems with your hearing. Then, this information is used to identify the products that will be a perfect fit for your needs.
If you’d like to learn more about personalized hearing aid recommendations, contact us at Fairfax Hearing Center. We will schedule a hearing test and consultation to discuss your needs.