Hearing aid models come and go due to the fast pace of technology but at any point in time there about 400 different types so it's not difficult to understand why getting to grips with what's right for you can be confusing. The fact that there are so many hearing aids is a good thing because it means that there is a hearing aid that is exactly right for you.
During a consultation with an audiologist, you will be asked many questions and some will seem quite personal. Your audiologist is narrowing the search for the ideal hearing aid solution. Once the actual hearing test has been completed, the audiologist should have a good idea about what technology should be best for you.
Generally, audiologists are split between learning about all technologies and therefore having a large range of hearing aids to choose from or having a smaller selection and knowing them well. Each manufacturer uses different software to program their range of hearing aids and even the experts get caught out sometimes. Some patients think they can do this themselves but you need to completely understand how the ear works in terms of anatomy and physiology as well as the technology; and experience counts for a lot. There are a lot of nuances in the software.
Most true independent hearing aid suppliers focus on the world's six leading manufacturers and only the latest models. High street chains tend to focus on two to four manufacturers and often retail older technology. The NHS generally only use one.
Google Maps is a great resource for helping you find the best hearing aid centre. Look for the independent hearing aid shops with lots of reviews.
Your audiologist should ask about your lifestyle and about places where you would like to improve your hearing. The answers to these questions will help determine what level of technology is going to be the most appropriate. However, you can get a broad idea for yourself by using the simple guide to hearing aid selection below. The style and the way the hearing aid is adapted including programming should always be left to your audiologist.
See the table below for average prices from all retailers for different technology levels: