If you have ever done any research on hearing aids or had a hearing aid evaluation with a hearing healthcare provider, then the topic of hearing aid technology level has inevitably come up.
The first step in choosing a hearing aid is picking an appropriate style, either a behind-the-ear style or a custom-fit style. Once this is established, the second step is choosing the technology level of the device. Each manufacturer typically provides three main levels of technology: an entry-level hearing aid, a mid-range ‘advanced’ level and a top–range ‘premium’ level. With each increase in technology, more features become available. However, there is also an increase in price. Any hearing aid will provide benefit but premium-level hearing aids may offer some more advantages that you will benefit from. Let’s take a look at what these are.
With each increase in technology, more features become available.
Better Background Noise Reduction
In comparison to lower levels of technology, a premium level hearing aid is able to make more automatic adjustments according to the environment that they detect. All hearing aids are able to analyze a sound environment, and apply appropriate programming changes to help you navigate the environment with more ease. However, a premium hearing aid has more built-in sound environments and can choose from a wider range of settings to effectively adapt to the chosen environment. This makes these hearing aids more effective at cutting out background noise, allowing you to hear a bit better in noisy environments without having to make any adjustments.
More Extensive Programming Capabilities
Premium level hearing aids also have more adjustment handles for the clinician to manipulate during the fitting process. The more adjustment handles there are, the more specifically we can tune your hearing aids to match prescriptive targets that are chosen based on your hearing loss. We can liken this to trying to play a song on a piano with ten keys versus twenty keys. The frequency tuning of the piano with more keys is going to be more accurate. Additionally, we can be sure that we are not over amplifying some frequencies.
Improved Overall Sound Quality
Because the premium hearing aid is more adaptive in its programming and because your hearing healthcare provider who programs it can more specifically tune it, you are going to notice an improvement in sound quality. Not only does an improvement in sound quality make hearing aids sound more natural for you, but it is also going to make the adjustment period smoother.
Although premium-level hearing aids come at a much higher price point, there are some benefits to investing in the technology. But is investing in a premium level hearing aid the only way to achieve any measurable benefit? Not at all. Any hearing aid will deliver the much needed sound stimuli to your auditory system and help address communication deficits. Ultimately, the most important factor is that you work with your audiologist that follows best practices when fitting a device, and works with you to choose the best option. This will ensure success with any level of technology.