Technological Advancement in Hearing Aids & How Hearing Aid Prices Differ

Is hearing loss leading to cognitive decline in elderly people?
April 11, 2019

In this post we are focusing on hearing aid options and hearing aid prices. Sixty-three million people in the United States suffer from hearing problems and use hearing aids. Hearing aids are small electronic devices helpful for those with hearing problems that can’t be treated. They are a great in cases where hearing problems are beyond treatment, for these cases they are becoming mandatory. This may sound very simple but actually it isn’t. Price and quality are the main criteria when choosing the right hearing aid for you.

Buying a Hearing aid that is good enough and fits your budget can become a difficult task because there are a lot of factors to consider when selecting a hearing aid and cost is a crucial factor to consider.

Different types of hearing aids

A normal hearing aid generally consists of a microphone which amplifies and processes the sound and then picks up the sound.  It also contains a speaker which signals the ear. The device gets its power from a battery, just like any other normal gadget. These are the important things that every hearing aid consists of. It’s only that  the design and the model that changes.

Usually, hearing aids are classified into two types: ITE (inside the ear) and BTE (behind the ear). Each of these are characterized by different styles. 

ITE comes in three different styles of hearing aids, which are mentioned below:

IIC or Invisible-in-canal and CIC or Completely- in-canal 

These two hearing aids are the tiniest custom aids available at hand. They usually fit in deeply inside the ear canal and are recommended only for minor hearing loss. The size and invisibility of the aid, inside the canal depends on the user’s canal size. Compact and easier to manage, these are recommended for both mild and severe hearing problems. 

(Source: oconnorhearing.com)

(Source: hearingrehabilitation.com)

ITC or In-the-canal hearing aid

This hearing aid is build to sit on the lower portion of the ear bowl. This feature of the ITC makes it easy and comfortable to use. It is larger than the IIC and CIC hearing aids, and has a longer battery life. Thus people can use it for a longer period of time without charging it. Compact and easy to manage, these are recommended for both mild and severe hearing problems. 

(source: starkey hearing)

Low profile hearing aid

This includes aids that are designed such that they run from half of the ear bowl to the full ear bowl. The size of the low profile hearing aid makes it easier to handle, and can be used easily by people with dexterity issue. We can even accommodate the directional microphones, volume controls and program buttons in it.

(Source: sound hearing solution)

Now, let’s have a look at the 3 different BTE (Behind-the-ear) hearing aids:

Mini BTE hearing aid:

Mini BTE hearing aid contains slim tubes at the tip. It can easily fit on the outer ear and has an ultra-thin tube which connects to the ear. This is the most popular hearing aid, which most people use. There are a variety of hearing tips available to make it big.

(source: hidden hearing)

RITE or Receiver-in-the ear and RIC or Receiver-in-canal hearing aid:

In this device,  the speaker is built near the tip instead of the main body of the hearing aid. Thus, the speaker is positioned near to the eardrum and the microphone and battery sit in a small case behind the ear.

(source: superior hearing aid)

BTE hearing aid with ear-molds:

This is one of the best hearing aids that has ever been made. The ear-molds in this device, can serve any type of hearing loss, ranging  from mild to profound. The longer size extends to the outer ear, and is positioned behind it. It has many more features than any other hearing aids.

(Source: hearsmart)

Things to keep in mind while buying a hearing aid

If you already are using a hearing aid and want to buy a new hearing aid then it is important to consult a doctor first, because it is always required to consult a doctor from time to time about your present condition, and later change or buy the new hearing aid according to the requirement.

Below are some important points that will help in getting a good hearing aid:

Daily activities

When you decide to buy a hearing aid always remember to choose a hearing aid which will suit according to your lifestyle and will make your work more easy. Before buying think about the things like- what are your daily activities and if you are buying the hearing aid how will it make things easy for you and deliver you the best quality of results.

Working Environment

Your profession plays an important role in determining the hearing aid which you should buy. If you are a musician you should have a hearing aid which will help in determining even minute tone. On the contrary if you work in a disturbing environment then you will require a hearing aid which will cancel all the background noise.

Battery Backup

A hearing aid usually required to be charged in regular intervals. According to your profession it is very much important to choose a kind of hearing which has long or short or medium lasting battery backup. Depending on battery backup the price of the hearing aid may vary. High capacity batteries increase the cost and low capacity batteries will decrease the cost.

Technological Influence

These days new technological advances are made in every sector and the hearing aid sector is no different. Some new technologies that have recently been added to hearing aids are remote controlled sound programs, different types of microphones, bluetooth compatibility, and more. So consider the technology that will be the most useful for your work and life.

What are the prices of these Hearing?

It’s pretty common to see advertisements on television and in newspapers on a wide range of  hearing devices that only cost a few hundred dollars, but when you actually investigate on different types of hearing aids then you’re more likely to encounter figures that run into thousands of dollars. Why is it so? The reason for the huge disparity is that the advertisements and the legitimate hearing aids are actually talking about two different products.

Most of the time, hearing enhancement devices advertise low cost devices in hundreds. These refer to to personal sound amplification products (PSAP’s), which are far from genuine digital hearing aids. These devices are really intended for users who have no hearing impairment at all, and who simply wish to amplify ambient sounds for recreational purposes, i.e. television or radio listening. True hearing aids are much more complicated devices, and are intended for those people who have actually suffered some kind of hearing impairment, usually due to physical damage within the ear itself.

The hearing aid cost may range from as low as $10 upto $650 for basic hearing and can go further up to $3500 – the cost of premium hearing aid. It all depends on your budget and the type of hearing aid you require. 

One more key parameter to be considered here is that all these brands of hearing aids are available on the online media. You can easily order these from any of the online shopping sites and get it delivered directly to your home. Things have now become very simple and no personal labour is required to get your required item. However, why do that when you could come to Sage and get our professional help with deciding on the best hearing aid for you and get it personally tested and fitted for you by us.

Why are high-quality digital hearing aids expensive?

Any manufacturer intending to produce high-quality digital hearing aids will have some major investments to make, specifically in the areas of machinery, test equipment, manufacturing environment, technicians, researchers, developers, testers, engineers, scientists, and assemblers. Hearing aids are categorized as medical devices, which means, they are also subject to a number of regulatory statutes governing performance and quality.

Technicians must be employed by these companies, who are capable of servicing and repairing any hearing aids made by the company, especially where warranties are involved and parts are guaranteed. In addition, the construction of hearing aids are far more complex than a simple configuration of amplifier, microphone and speaker.

Before any really high-quality hearing aid can be produced, years of research and millions of dollars have to be invested into its development. To make a high-performing product, it is necessary to include noise reduction capabilities, as well as frequency lowering, directionality, wireless connectivity and streaming, and feedback management. None of these specific technologies would be included in a PSAP – (Personal sound amplification product.

Factors that affect the hearing aid price

A crucial thing that comes up while buying a hearing aid is the present technology involved and new technological features involved in it. In the electronics world the technologically sophisticated hearing aids, over the time the price reduces.

However the price of the normal hearing aid is steady and most of the time is the same unless a new technology is implemented in it which increases the price of the hearing aid. Similar to all other technological advancement the hearing aid which is now known as the top quality hearing aid after 2 years becomes the basic technology in the hearing aid.

All the manufactures nowadays are striving very hard to provide the best quality hearing aid at the lowest cost. To achieve this every company and every brand may it be Oticon, Phonak, Unitron, Hansaton, Starkey, Widex, Resound, Signia, Bernafon, all work hard to give the best experience in a very lower cost.

A hearing aid will be considered as most advanced version only when it contains all the new technologies like noise reduction, wireless capabilities, Bluetooth, etc. which will have a high cost and the devices which contains fewer technological aspects will cost less when compared to the advanced one.

So, it is completely your call, it is you who has to decide what you want to buy and which is useful for you  in all the way, which technology is required and most importantly what is your budget. All these things are you up on but at Sage we can help you to find the best hearing aid for you.

The costs don’t end there. Keep in mind that there are additional services involved when you actually go and purchase a hearing aid, because at that time, it is necessary to customize the hearing aid for your particular hearing level, and you also have to be made aware of how to take good care of it, and get it serviced whenever it becomes necessary.

If you want to learn more, get your hearing tested, or get advice on hearing aids, then come visit us at Sage anytime. Also, we have an upcoming free lunch event on October 29 that you are welcome to attend.

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