Just like you would go and test drive a car to see if it up to your standards, you too can test drive hearing aids at Kirsten McLeod Audiology.
This gives you the perfect opportunity to try them out in your own listening environments, such as at home, at work, in a meeting, at a restaurant, at the mall and so on, in order to see just how much they enhance your hearing abilities and overall quality of life.
Once you and I have decided on the most suitable hearing aid/s, I will order them from the relevant hearing company. You can then take them home and test them out in your different listening environments. This period is generally 1-2 weeks and once this time is over, hopefully you will have realized that they do in fact make a big difference. If this is the case, you will simply keep the aids that you have been trialing and I will make sure to give you all of the appropriate accessories (i.e. batteries, tubes, cleaning tools etc) which come with a new purchase.
So…essentially, the reason for this trial period is to allow you to test the hearing aids before you make the purchase.
Please note that there is NO difference between the trial aid and the aid you would essentially purchase. They are one in the same thing.
Factors to consider when deciding on the BEST hearing aid for you.
1. Physical Factors
Your hearing loss. If you have a mild hearing loss, you can wear smaller instrument styles, but if it is more severe, you will need more powerful instruments with larger batteries.
Your ear anatomy. Modern hearing instruments can fit most kinds of ear anatomy. The only restriction to wearing certain types of instruments will be the size and shape of your ear canal. Your hearing care professional can tell you more about this.
Other ear-related factors. Another influencing factor is earwax. Earwax is normal, but too much of this would demand a more wax-proof model that is easier to clean. Similarly, if you live somewhere humid, or do a lot of physical activity, you would need a more moisture-repellent style.
One or two hearing instruments? Even if you hear slightly better in one ear than the other, it is best to wear two instruments. You need two ears in order to be able to understand speech in noisy environments – and to keep track of what is happening all around you. Take crossing a road, for instance. If a car is approaching from the left, the sound will reach your left ear first, and with more intensity, so you will immediately know which way to turn. This can make all the difference in potentially hazardous situations. Today’s most sophisticated hearing instruments are purpose-built to support hearing from both sides. By communicating wirelessly and comparing information, they help to fill in any gaps in your sound picture – including ones you did not even know you were missing!
2. Personal Factors
Finances. Very simply put…how much are you able to afford for hearing aids? This is often the starting point when looking at the most appropriate hearing aid. There is generally an option available to suit all financial needs. Benefits for hearing aids are provided on most medical aids. The amount you qualify for will depend on your medical aid plan. The better the plan, the more they will provide.
How would you describe your lifestyle? Do you consider yourself the “stay-at-home” type who enjoys reading, watching TV and gardening? Or are you outgoing with an active social life and lots of hobbies? If you are the active type, you should consider advanced or premium hearing instruments. These can adapt to the widest variety of listening situations – including noisy ones. And being fully automatic, they do not require constant adjustment; all you will have to do is to listen!
What are your communication needs? Ask yourself exactly where you would like to be able to hear much better. For instance, what happens when you are socialising with family and friends? What challenges are involved in eating out or going to the theatre, etc? It is a good to idea to involve family, as their observations can be valuable.
What else would you like to connect to? Better hearing does not only include face to face situations; sound comes from other audio sources too – such as phones, TVs and stereos. If you would like to be able to watch the news or listen to music without bringing the roof down, you might consider hearing instruments that offer wireless connectivity.
What about looks? Design is not just about functionality; it is also about aesthetics. You can be trendy and stylish – or totally discreet. Or both! With so many styles and colours to choose from, it is easy to find one that suits your personal tastes.
What about ease of use? Where usability is concerned, do you want to be able to control the volume and settings of your instruments yourself, or would you prefer automatic, “hands-free” operation?
What about sound quality? Sound quality is perceived very differently from person to person, depending on what you do, where you go and who you meet during a normal week. How active would you say your lifestyle is? As a rule, the more demanding it is, the more sophisticated your hearing instruments need to be in order to help you keep up.
All of these questions might seem daunting but they are ALL questions you can discuss with your Audiologist and at the end of the day, the most suitable, affordable and cosmetically appealing solution will be chosen for you.