Hearing Amplifier Buying guide
If you want to buy one we suggest you bear the following in mind when making your choice.
You can buy listening aids for smart phones and other electronics at many websites. Prices range from about $80 to $900. Amplified or flashing household items cost about $40 to $300. Selected features may increase the price of a hearing aid.
- Directional microphone : A directional microphone helps you converse in noisy environments by making the audio signal in front of you louder than the noise in the rear or from the sides. Many hearing aids come with switchable directional and omnidirectional modes; that’s a plus unless the user has difficulty switching between the two. A negative feature of a directional microphone: It’s prone to wind noise. Survey results show it helps in loud social settings, while listening to the TV or radio when there is noise in the rear or off to the sides, and for hearing household noises.
- Feedback suppression: Feedback suppression, or digital feedback reduction, uses a power on delay to help quell squeals when inserting the hearing aid. Most aids have this feature. It’s useful if the hearing aid is close to the telephone, or if the hearing aid displaces slightly when you move your jaw. Another advantage: You can raise the volume without having to worry about feedback.
- Digital noise reduction improves listener comfort, reduce the mess of noise and sound quality in noisy environments. For many, it also may improve speech understanding in noise.
- Low battery indicator sounds that alert you when to change batteries. Most newer hearing devices have this feature.
- Wax guard helps keep the aid free of ear wax, a cause of malfunctions and a major complaint of our survey respondents. Ask the hearing-aid dispenser to teach you how to remove and replace the wax guard, and how often you’ll need to change it.
- Automatic volume control (compression) provides more amplification for low sound levels than high sound levels, which prevents high sound levels from being intrusively loud. Most aids had this feature.
- Vents are tiny tunnels in ear molds or the one piece hearing aids that sit in the ear. They help minimize the stuffed up sensation one feels when wearing hearing aids. They could contribute to improved speech understanding, depending on the vent size.
- Manual volume control lets you adjust the volume to your preferences in a given environment. Some hearing aids have a self-learning feature that automatically adjusts the hearing aid amplification based on how they’re typically used.