So, you’ve taken the first step down the road of hearing loss treatment and consulted an audiologist. What’s next?
Receiving a hearing impairment diagnosis is life-changing – even for those who have long suspected they had serious auditory issues. For most, the hardest part is adjusting to their new reality. From the sheer number of hearing aid devices on the market to the countless brands, features and technologies that differentiate each, there is so much information to sift through before making an investment.
There aren’t many certainties when it comes to hearing loss, but one thing is for sure: the nature of the condition will determine the best remedy. There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment. Some diagnoses require surgical intervention, while others will benefit from hearing aids alone. Those diagnosed with profound hearing loss may be better
suited to a cochlear implant. (1)
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common form of permanent hearing impairment and is caused by damage to inner ear structures or the auditory nerve. Due to its prevalence, many assistive technologies have been developed specifically to restore hearing for sensorineural sufferers. (2)
If you’ve been diagnosed with sensorineural hearing impairment, there are likely hundreds of devices on the market that may be suitable for you. On the contrary, if you suffer from a more niche aural issue, such as auditory neuropathy – whereby the inner ear struggles to send sound to the brain – you’ll likely need a specialised aid. Speak to your audiologist for advice relevant to your condition. (3)
Choosing a hearing aid doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you’re in the midst of researching devices, the following key pieces of advice will help you to determine which product is best for your needs.
1.Your hearing requirements
Before selecting a top-of-the-line device based on looks and features alone, it’s crucial you take the time to discuss your hearing difficulties with your audiologist so they can assess your condition and recommend suitable treatment options. Most importantly, your specialist will set reasonable expectations as to the level of improvement you can expect to gain.
Many hearing devices are designed to combat specific symptoms – such as tinnitus – so there’s no use investing in a product that may not suit your needs.
2.Features and technology
Modern hearing aids are far more than sound amplification tools. While this remains their core role, many devices on the market boast advanced features far beyond what many users expect. These include things like rechargeability – rather than battery power – smartphone connectivity, extended life and wind noise reduction.
Your specific hearing needs will likely dictate the features your device will be equipped with. So, it’s a good idea to discuss your diagnosis with your audiologist and make a list of the most beneficial technologies for your requirements
Cost is, unsurprisingly, one of the biggest prohibiting factors in obtaining treatment for hearing loss. Most hearing aids range from AU$1,000 to more than $6,000 each, depending on the sophistication. That’s a significant sum for most, but when you consider that devices often have to be updated every few years, it’s even more substantial.
Data analysis in the United States has shown that ownership of hearing aids is lowest among financially disadvantaged populations, with many specifically signaling prices as major obstacles. (4) (5)
Thankfully, in Australia, there are tax and private health fund rebates available, along with financial assistance for pensioners and veterans. Many audiology clinics also offer payment plans. For more information and eligibility, read our pricing page.
4.Hearing aid type
Once you’ve picked a device that’s both affordable and suitable, the next step is to choose a style. There are three main types of hearing aids: daily wear in-the-ear (ITE), daily wear behind-the-ear (BTE) and extended wear. Each has its pros and cons and comes in an array of styles.
Daily wear ITEs are very small devices, fitting snugly into the ear or ear canal. They’re typically recommended for mild to moderate hearing loss. The second type – daily wear BTEs – are the ones you’ll probably recognise. They wrap around the outside of the ear, with a tube directing sound inside. Extended wear hearing aids like the Lyric Invisible Hearing Aid are the most versatile, as they can be left in during all sorts of activities, from showering to exercising and wearing headphones. Take some time to consider which type will best accommodate your lifestyle.
Both technology and medical understanding of the ear have improved exponentially over the last few decades. Say goodbye to the bulky, old-fashioned hearing devices of yesteryear. Today, you can select a hearing aid that looks sleek without blowing your budget.
Invisible in the canal (IIC) and completely in the canal (CIC) devices are the most visually appealing choices, as they’re practically undetectable from the outside. However, BTE devices are just as stylish these days and can be custom-made to match the users skin tone, style or hair colour.
For more advice on how to select a suitable hearing aid, click here.
1.“Effectiveness of Cochlear Implants in Adults with Sensorineural Hearing Loss,” NCBI. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK285762/
2.“About Hearing Loss,” Deafness Foundation. Source:
3.“Auditory Neuropathy,” National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Source:
4.“Opening the Market for Lower Cost Hearing Aids: Regulatory Change Can Improve the Health of Older Americans,” NCBI. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC488023/#bib9
5.“Determinants of Hearing Aid Acquisition in Older Adults,” AJPH. Source: https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2010.300078