Sound Advice On Shopping For A Hearing Aid


The signs of age-related hearing loss may be subtle. You may have difficulty hearing a conversation in a noisy restaurant or crowded room. You notice that you’re asking people to repeat themselves more or that people seem to be mumbling a lot. Maybe your family routinely teases you about having the TV turned up so loud.

Despite these signs, many people avoid seeking care until their hearing loss begins to have a negative effect on their communication and lifestyle.

“Most hearing loss occurs as part of the natural aging process and is permanent,” explains Henry Ford audiologist Brad Stach, PhD. “While many people would rather avoid it, the single most effective solution for this type of hearing loss is a hearing aid.”

It’s estimated that only 1 in 4 people who could benefit from using hearing aids actually use them, even when cost or other barriers are not an issue.

But those who do seek treatment are pleasantly surprised by the results, says Stach. “Most wonder why they waited so long to get hearing aids.”

Shop for the Right Care, Not Devices
So what’s the first step to take when you or a loved one needs hearing aids?

Before you shop for the device, you should first shop for a trained expert to provide your care: An audiologist, a professional licensed by your state to provide a full range of hearing and balance diagnostic and treatment services.

Audiologists receive years of academic and clinical training, culminating in a doctoral degree, (Au.D.) to:

  • Provide comprehensive hearing evaluations
  • Prescribe and fit hearing aids and assistive listening devices
  • Develop hearing treatment programs, and counsel patients and their families on communication and listening strategies
  • Help determine if someone is a candidate for cochlear implants
  • Monitor hearing before or after a related surgery or procedure

So when you’re wading through the various shapes, sizes and levels of technology of hearing aids available today, an audiologist is specially trained to help you choose a device that best fits your hearing loss needs and your lifestyle.

Remember: A one-size-fits-all approach has never worked with hearing aids, because no two individuals experience hearing loss in the same way. It takes the expertise of an audiologist to understand the impact of hearing loss on your life, to define the right hearing aid for you, and to properly fit and care for your hearing aids over time.

Learn more about audiology services at Henry Ford.

Brad Stach, Ph.D., is the head of the Division of Audiology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Categories: FeelWell