Once you have had a comprehensive hearing assessment and we have taken a full history and discussed your individual hearing needs, we will most often recommend hearing aids or another type of assistive device.
The selection of a hearing aid depends on your degree of hearing loss, listening needs, ear characteristics, dexterity as well as financial considerations. A particular type of hearing aid may suit one person but not another.
Hearing aids have come a long way in the past decade and there are many different styles and models available.
Behind the ear (BTE)
They can have an earmould fitting the contours of your ear and tubing up to an earhook which places the aid over and behind your ear, or can now often have a slim pre-moulded tube with a small dome in the ear canal which is less noticeable but may not be suitable for all hearing losses.
Receiver in the Ear (RITE)
These aids have the speaker (or receiver as it is known in hearing technology) located in the ear canal and a small wire running from the microphone and sound processor which sits almost invisibly behind the outer ear .
These aids have become the most widely prescribed style due to their comfort and versatility in fitting a wide range of hearing losses and almost invisible appearance on the ear.
In the Canal (ITC)
This style is suitable for most ear sizes where a single-piece instrument is required, or where there is a particular reason not to have anything over the ear. They can fit up to a moderate to severe hearing loss, but do require some acclimatisation and may require regular cleaning of waxguards.
Completely In the Canal (CIC)
This style sits deep down in the ear canal, requiring a deep impression to be taken of the ear for comfortable fitting. They can be almost invisible depending on the size and shape of the individual ear, but are not suitable for small ears or those with very bendy ear canals, or those whose ears are prone to wax build-up.
Most hearing aids are digital instruments nowadays, which just means that they convert analog sounds into a digital form and use computer technology to process the signal in increasingly sophisticated ways to try and give the best possible signal to the listener. This is where the differing costs occur, in signal processing capabilities, not necessarily in the style of the aid.
The clinician will discuss with you the best options for your particular loss and lifestyle needs, with consideration given to good audibility, comfort, reliability, ease of use, robustness and cosmetics.
How much do they cost?
Hearing aids for private clients can vary greatly in cost from $1000 to upwards of $4000, depending on the features available from the digital chip and any accessories, such as remote controls, Bluetooth connectivity etc.
Eligible Pensioners and Veterans can choose from a range of very good free devices from the Government approved range, or may elect to pay a “top-up” fee if special features are required from the aid.
Will they help?
The vast majority of hearing problems can be helped with hearing aids, but they are only part of the solution, and the relationship forged with your audiologist will be crucial in obtaining the best outcomes for you.
“My hearing aids are so comfortable, I don’t know they’re there” Male, 58yrs
“My family did not even notice I was wearing them”. Female, 79yrs
“They’re the best thing that ever happened to me ~ I should have come for hearing aids years ago” Female, 31yrs