You may really like the look of the hearing aids your friend or a family member is wearing. And, naturally, you may ask yourself if you could use the same brand and model hearing aid too. Maybe your friend is replacing their hearing aids and you may even be wondering if you could use the old ones.
After all a hearing aid is just an amplifier isn’t it? In fact, hearing loss varies a great deal from person to person. Your friend’s hearing aids may be appropriate for you but it can be very dangerous to assume that they’re safe to use without proper testing.
A visit to a hearing professional is the first step if you suspect that you have hearing loss. It is vital that you do get your hearing tested because untreated hearing loss can have significant impacts on your physical and mental health and your finances.
Your professional hearing expert will carry out extensive testing to diagnose your specific type of hearing loss. The results of these hearing tests will help you and your hearing professional work out which type of hearing aid will work best for you.
Here are some very important reasons why you need to take the time to choose the right hearing aid for you and not simply go with what your friend has.
Type of hearing loss
Hearing loss can be very complex with an enormous variety of causes as well as degrees of severity. The exact nature of your hearing loss is one of the most critical factors in choosing the right hearing aid for your needs.
Hearing loss falls into four broad categories:
- Mixed hearing loss
- Auditory processing
Within these categories there may be a variety of causes and levels of hearing loss severity. For example, your hearing loss may have been a gradual process due to noise in the workplace or it may have been the result of a hereditary condition. These factors will influence your choice of ideal hearing aid.
Your friend’s hearing aid may suit their specific hearing loss but it may not be right for you. The major hearing aid manufacturers produce a large range of hearing aid types and models to suit all types of hearing loss. And you may need some help working out which is the best type for you.
For example, you might envy your friend’s IIC (Invisible in the Canal) hearing aids but your hearing loss might be more severe and IIC aids might not provide enough amplification.
Or your friend might be happy to wear only one hearing aid whereas you may benefit from wearing two hearing aids. Two hearing aids can be especially helpful if you find background noise challenging or you have trouble working out where sounds are coming from. Two hearing aids can also help reduce the impact of tinnitus.
Lifestyle, form & function
Lifestyle is another important factor to consider when choosing hearing aids. Your friend’s hearing aids may not offer the functionality you need. If you lead a more active, hectic life in a range of sound environments you may need premium features such as advanced speech enhancements, tinnitus white noise generators, or optimised listening programmes.
On the other hand, you may be the introvert who enjoys one on one conversations rather than noisy restaurants or meetings. You may be quite happy wearing a less expensive model that still offers great speech enhancement and connectivity for talking on the phone.
The physical design of your friend’s hearing aids may also make them a poor choice for your unique lifestyle requirements. Some of the tiny invisible or near invisible hearing aids can be a little challenging to handle if you are not so dextrous.
Size really does matter if you find it difficult to change batteries frequently or adjust settings manually on your hearing aids. Fortunately, many modern hearing aids offer lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that do away with the need to change batteries. Recharging is as simple as placing your hearing aids in their recharging cradle overnight and they’ll be fully charged the next morning.
Many hearing aids also offer full control of the settings from your Smartphone. Apps allow you to programme listening programmes for various specific settings. This means when you change to a noisy environment for example, you can simply adjust the sound levels discreetly without anyone knowing.
Performance & innovation
It’s always a good idea when you’re choosing new hearing aids to check out user reviews for your preferred hearing aids. Ask your friend about the performance of their hearing aids too but remember their experience will be unique to them as will yours.
Your friend may have purchased cheap hearing aids online and they may be O.K for them but this method of getting hearing devices carries a lot of risks. You may be throwing money away on poor performing aids that don’t last and may even damage your hearing further. Cheap hearing aids also lack the ongoing support of hearing professionals who will make sure your hearing devices are fitting correctly and set up perfectly for you.
Some people ask if they can use old model hearing aids that a friend or family member no longer needs. We really do not recommend this for the same reasons listed above. And even if the hearing aids are suitable for your hearing loss you still need to have them adjusted correctly for your needs.
Old pre-used hearing aids may have performance issues that can be dangerous such as feedback problems. Bear in mind that hearing aids do have a limited lifespan and so repairing old hearing aids may be very expensive or may not be possible at all.
Our House of Hearing mission is simple: our hearing professionals are here to help you enjoy the sounds of life to the fullest. If that sounds good to you then come and talk to us.