There are many factors that affect how the University of the Pacific Audiologists in Stockton and San Francisco help you choose a hearing aid. Hearing aid technology is continually advancing. Many of our patients ask which hearing device manufacturer makes the best hearing aids, but there is no clear answer to that question. Major manufacturers keep up with each other; once one company develops a specific technology, others catch up quickly. This means the top manufacturers’ hearing aids are typically on par in terms of quality, research and design. With our two locations – Stockton and San Francisco, the University of the Pacific has access to the latest technology from major manufacturers as well as local start-ups.
As your Hearing Healthcare provider, our responsibility is to help you select the best hearing aid for your specific needs, preferences and configuration of hearing. A hearing aid that works well for one person may not be appropriate for another. Oftentimes, people come in asking for their friend’s exact hearing aid model. This approach to choosing a hearing aid is unwise, as each individual’s listening preferences and hearing loss are likely to be different.
So, what factors should we consider as we determine the best hearing aid for your individual needs?
- Residual hearing/hearing configuration
- Your residual hearing and hearing configuration tell us how acutely you hear at each frequency and how clearly you hear speech when it is loud enough for you to detect. Different shapes of hearing are treated differently; each specific style of hearing aid has appropriate acoustic properties for different hearing configurations.
- Shape and size of ear
- Most types of hearing aids can be fit to the majority of ears; however, sometimes we are limited by the shape and size of your ear (e.g. a very petite ear canal may not be able to accommodate certain styles of hearing devices).
- Preferences for control
- Most hearing aids are fully self-activated and automatically adjust the volume of speech and noise based on the environment detected. These same hearing aids can often be configured to give their wearer more control over specific features (e.g. muting the hearing device to vacuum the floors). Certain hearing aid models will be recommended over others depending on whether you want the device to act automatically or if you prefer to have more manual control.
- Preferences for connectivity
- Certain types of hearing aids have options to connect wirelessly to Bluetooth® devices or smart phones. More than 80% of hearing aids sold today offer some type of wireless connectivity. Our device recommendations take into account your preferences for connectivity in your daily routine.
- Visual acuity and manual dexterity
- No matter how fancy hearing aids can be, you still have to be able to see the parts clearly and be able to turn them on and off. As such, your selection of appropriate styles is limited by what you can see and feel confidently.