What is the Easiest Hearing Aid to Use?
For many people, getting a new hearing aid (and all that goes along with it), can be a frustrating and overwhelming experience. I can’t say I blame them. So much of today’s marketing hype is centered around invisible hearing aids, Made for iPhone hearing aids, Bluetooth streaming, and so many other technologically advanced solutions. This can leave people feeling that hearing aids will just be too difficult to adjust to and to use on a daily basis. Without even considering vision or dexterity issues, the overall learning process alone and familiarizing oneself with the terminology can be downright overwhelming.
But the fact is, for all of the amazing advancements that have been made in hearing aid technology, most hearing aids are still designed in a very user-friendly way, such that no hearing aids are extremely difficult to use. The majority of people that I meet that are concerned about how difficult it will be to use their new hearing aids are surprised to learn just how easy they actually are. So in most cases, you really have nothing to worry about. However, if you really think hearing aids are going to be difficult to put in, take out, and manage on a daily basis, there is certainly an easiest type of hearing aid for you.
To start out, let’s look at the first challenge of wearing a hearing aid, and that is- getting it in the ear. Most hearing aids are very easy to put in, but in general, the ITE style (as shown to the left), is the easiest to put in. The ITE hearing aid is built from a custom earmold that is taken of the entire outer ear. This hearing aid fits comfortably inside the bowl of the ear, and is the easiest hearing to put in. The next challenge is taking the hearing aid out, but that too is also easy with an ITE. Most ITE’s can be built with a small pull string attached which allows the wearer to easily grab on to a small string and yank the hearing aid out of their ear. This small string looks just like fishing-wire.
The next thing most people are worried about is how difficult it is to change the batteries. Luckily, ITE hearing aids use size 13 batteries- which are among the largest hearing aid batteries. They aren’t huge and simple to put in by any means, but it is as easy as it gets with a size 13 battery. Your hearing aid will have small door on it which you will pry open with your finger, slide the battery into, and then close the door again to turn the hearing aid on. When you are done using the aid, you’ll simply open the door back up and the aid will turn off. Now, about once every 10 days, the battery will quit, at which time the hearing aid will have an “indicator” which will alert the wearer that a new battery is needed. At this time, you’ll simply take the battery out and replace it with a new one. So on a day to day basis, you are just opening the battery door at night when you take the aids out (to turn them off), and then closing the battery door in the morning to turn the aids on. Then, once every 10 days or so, changing the batteries.
The next concern most people have is dealing with the onboard controls like volume and memory adjustments. To make it as easy as possible, you can ask your hearing provider to leave out any onboard controls so that the hearing aid cannot be “messed up” by the wearer. If you want though, a volume control can be added to the aid and they are surprisingly easy to use. Lastly, many people are concerned about the daily cleaning and maintenance that goes along with hearing aids. The reality is there is just not that much maintenance to do, and you may not need to do any at all, but this is very specific to each hearing device and to your hearing providers recommendations.
The bottom line is all hearing aids are not that hard to use, and if it is a big concern, then just try an ITE to start out with and see if you can handle that first. Chances are you will familiarize yourself with the hearing aids very quickly and they will become just another simple addition to whatever daily routine you have, so never let the fear of “difficult” hearing aids stop you from hearing better!
If you’d like a free phone consultation with a licensed hearing provider, please feel free to call us at 800-731-6794.