Hearing loss affects about one out of every five Charleston residents to a certain degree. The good news? The majority of patients can be helped with hearing aids. Choosing from the many different kinds that are available can feel overwhelming, but don’t worry—we’ve got some tips to help simplify the process.
How common is hearing loss in SC?
If you think 48 million is a large number, you’re right! That’s the number of Americans who have a hearing impairment. Hearing loss is the third most common physical health condition in South Carolina, behind arthritis and heart disease.
Can hearing aids help with your hearing loss?
Fortunately, nine out of ten people with impaired hearing can benefit from amplification. Hearing aids don’t just allow you to hear better; they also help prevent a number of physical, social and psychological side effects. They improve your quality of life in multiple ways, keeping you healthier and enabling you to participate in many of your favorite activities.
How will an audiologist help you pick a hearing aid?
Choosing a hearing aid is tricky, however. There are many different styles and a wide range of options to consider. It’s hard to know where to begin (though your first stop should be a visit to a Charleston audiologist, who will determine the severity of your hearing loss and help suggest hearing aids that will target your specific needs).
What are the different hearing aid features?
Once upon a time, hearing aids came in basically one size: bulky. Advances in digital technology have led to much smaller hearing aids, some so tiny they fit completely within the ear canal, making them virtually invisible. Other styles include half-shell, full-shell, behind-the-ear and open-fit. There are pros and cons to each; a lot will depend on your type and degree of hearing loss, manual dexterity and cosmetic preference. Your Charleston hearing specialist will help you choose the perfect style to fit your needs.
Hearing aid design makes a big difference in the overall cost and performance. Just because two devices look similar doesn’t mean they deliver identical results. What’s “beneath the hood” is what really counts—in other words, the internal electronics. Most hearing aids available today are digital, offering superior sound quality to the analog devices of yesteryear. They filter out background noise so you are able to hear conversations clearly, and many of the problems that plagued old hearing aids, such as distortion and feedback, no longer exist. Hearing aids are programmed to meet your exact hearing needs during the fitting process.
There are almost as many options available on hearing aids as there are when purchasing a new car! Digital technology has led to many features designed to enhance your hearing. Some of the most popular include:
Wireless technology allows you to connect Bluetooth-enabled electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets, directly to your hearing aids. This lets you make telephone calls, watch TV and listen to music through your hearing aids without disturbing others around you.
Microphones can be adjusted manually so you can pick up sounds directly in front of you when engaged in one-on-one conversations. If you’re enjoying a night out that involves a public performance or concert, simply switch to a more general setting to capture more sounds.
Regular hearing aid batteries have a pretty short life; they generally need replacing every 5-7 days. Manufacturers have responded by offering rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for many hearing aids; an overnight charge is usually sufficient to provide you with power for a full day.
In a perfect world cost wouldn’t be an issue, but hearing aids can be expensive and few insurance companies reimburse for hearing aids. We all have budgets we are comfortable with, but try not to skimp when it comes to hearing aids. You’ll want to ensure you buy devices that will target your specific hearing needs; the money you save initially if choosing an inexpensive pair won’t matter if they end up gathering dust in a drawer.
Schedule a hearing aid consultation to learn more.
If you are in the market for hearing aids and looking for help, schedule an appointment with an audiologist in Charleston.
Learn about Hearing Aid Benefits:
- Hearing Aids Do More Than Aid Hearing
- Hearing Aids May Delay Onset of Dementia
- What Can Hearing Aids Do for You? Plenty!
Our Central Charleston Area Audiologists Office Locations
180 Wingo Way, Suite 103
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
2295 Henry Tecklenburg Dr
Charleston, SC 29414