An estimated 28 million Americans have some type of hear loss that would benefit from hearing aids. However, few of them actually take advantage of hearing aids for various reasons. Possibly because they do not understand how they work, what type to choose, how much they cost, where to get them, or the top brands available.
How Do They Work?
Hearing aids have a small microphone that picks up the sound in the area. It then converts that sound into electrical signals which are sent to the hearing aid’s amplifier. The amplifier increases the volume of the sound and sends it to the hearing aid’s receiver. The receiver sends the amplified sound to the ear and the ear transmits it to the brain, where the person wearing the hearing aid can decipher the sound.
What Styles of Hearing Aids are There?
There are many different styles of hearing aids, each having its benefits and limitations. Depending on the severity of the hearing loss, a person can choose from an in the ear hearing aid, an in the canal hearing aid, a completely in the canal hearing aid, a behind the ear hearing aid, a behind the ear open fit hearing aid, or a cochlear implant.
In the Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids
An in the ear hearing aid is for people who have mild to severe hearing loss. It fits directly in the ear and is the most visible of the hearing aids. The benefits to this hearing aid style are that the battery tends to last a little longer, it can accommodate directional microphones, and it can accommodate added features.
In the Canal (ITC) Hearing Aids
An in the canal hearing aid is for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. It is customized to fit into the ear canal. It is small, which can make it difficult to adjust and change the battery. However, select hearing aids in this style come with a remote control to change the settings. This style also can have issues with feedback noise.
Completely in the Canal (CIC) Hearing Aids
A completely in the canal hearing aid is for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. It is smaller than the ITC style, but you must use a small wire to remove it from your ear. It is barely visible, but is typically more expensive.
Behind the Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
A behind the ear hearing aid is for people with mild to profound hearing loss. Part of the hearing aid sits behind the ear and is attached by a tube to another part inside the ear. This style is powerful and adjustable which makes it ideal for children with hearing loss. It is very visible and can cause feedback noise if not properly fitted.
A behind the ear open fit hearing aid is for people with mild hearing loss only. It is small and barely seen and does not require an impression for fitting. It has better sound and quality than the ITE.
A cochlear implant is for people with severe hearing loss. It is an implant in the ear canal that bypasses the damaged parts of the ear and sends the sound directly to the auditory nerve. The cochlear implant has an external system and an internal system. The external system has a sound processor, microphone, and transmitter. The internal system has a receiver and electrode array.
Analog vs. Digital
Analog hearing aids amplify every sound that they encounter. However, they can be programmed to pick up certain sounds. On the other hand, digital hearing aids analyze sounds and then amplify them to accommodate for volume and pitch. Digital hearing aids are programmable and have a clearer sound, but are more expensive than analog hearing aids.
How Much Do They Cost?
Hearing aids can be very expensive, especially for those who are on a fixed income. The large analog hearing aids are typically a couple hundred dollars, while digital hearing aids range in the thousands. This makes the range for the cost from about $500 – $6000 depending upon the style. However, Cochlear implants are $40,000.
Where Can I Get Hearing Aids?
Hearing aids can be purchased through an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor who will complete the hearing exam and fit the hearing aids. You can also purchase them at hearing aid centers such as Miracle Ear or Beltone. However, hearing aids can also be purchased online at websites such as Hear.com.
Top Hearing Aids
Whatever hearing loss you suffer from, hearing aids can make all the difference in the world. They allow you to reconnect with the auditory world and interact with your family and friends in a better way. Take a look at some of the best on the market today.
Hearing Assist hearing aids are all about letting you live the life you want. That’s why their aids have multiple settings, so you can adjust this device to your unique needs. Even better, newer offerings from this brand let you synch your aid with your smartphone. Best of all, though, is that you never have to change batteries with this brand, as their devices are all rechargeable. Talk about convenience!
Pricing & Discounts
Their basic BTE aids start at $699.98, although they are currently on sale for $499.98. For qualified individuals, these aids are available for $42/mo for 12 months with $0 down financing.
Their BTE Bluetooth aids are $899.99, now on sale for $599.98. Qualified individuals can make payments as low as $50/mo.
Their new CIC hearing aids are $399.99. Qualified individuals can make payments as low as $34/mo.
An industry leader for over 70 years, this brand knows hearing aids. Miracle-Ear knows that finding the perfect fit for you can be a little tricky to navigate solely online; that’s why they have over 1,500 locally owned and operated centers in the United States. Their mission? To personalize and humanize customer care.
Pricing & Discounts
Their discreet Miracle-EarMINI comes in two styles:
- Miracle-EarMINI™ Mirage IIC
- Miracle-EarMINI™ RIC 10 Hearing Aid
Their rechargeable Miracle-EarENERGY comes in two styles:
- Miracle-EarENERGY™ iRIC R Hearing Aid
- Miracle-EarENERGY™ BTE R Hearing Aid
Their connectable Miracle-EarCONNECT comes in two styles:
- Miracle-EarCONNECT™ RIC 312 Hearing Aid
- Miracle-EarCONNECT™ BTE S 13 Hearing Aid
Their functional Miracle-EAREASY comes in two styles:
- Miracle-EarEASY™ RIC 312
- Miracle-EarEASY™ BTE S 312
Pricing for this brand is not readily available online.
You don’t have to sacrifice quality for affordability. Those looking for more affordable aids need look no further than HearGlow.
Pricing & Discounts
This brand offers three styles:
- X1 Invisible Hearing Aid – originally $399.99, it’s on sale for $99.95
- X3 Digital Hearing Aid – originally $699.99, it’s on sale for $249.95
- X2 Discreet Hearing Aid – originally $499.99, it’s on sale for $149.95
Entering your email address to the brand’s email list can score you free shipping and 10% off your first order. You also have the ability to try their products for 30 days with a money-back guarantee.
If you want top-of-the-line hearing aids, it’s hard to go wrong with Eargo. This brand is all about utilizing the latest technology to enhance your hearing experience.
Pricing & Discounts
This company offers a 45-day return window for trying their products. Eargo offers the following:
- Eargo Neo – $2,350, available for as low as $109/mo; 12-month (1 year) warranty
- Eargo Max – $1,850, available for as low as $86/mo; 12-month (1 year) warranty
- Eargo Neo HiFi – $2,950, available for as low as $137/mo; 2-year (24 month) warranty
Customers have the option for a limited time to play a game on the official site to potentially save up to $300. Federal employees can go to their official website to learn more about their eligibility to receive Eargo hearing aids at no cost.