Determining whether one can help you. There is a hearing aid to help overcome most types of hearing loss, but not all. Before purchasing one, have a doctor or certified audiologist-not a “hearing aid specialist,” who is often just a salesperson-test your hearing and recommend corrective measures. It’s often possible to correct a hearing loss medically or surgically, but a doctor should make the diagnosis.
The hearing aid does three things: it makes sound louder, it modifies the quality of tone so that words can be understood more clearly, and it prevents excessive loudness from disturbing the user. The working parts of a hearing aid are sometimes in a small plastic case that fits behind the ear. A short plastic tube runs from the aid to a mold that fits inside the ear. More commonly, however, all parts of the aid are combined in a small unit that you insert into one ear. A miniature version of this all-in-the-ear type is the canal hearing aid, the most expensive of these three types.
If your hearing loss results from chronic middle-ear infection or from excessively narrow or nonexistent external ear canals, relatively rare conditions, you may need a bone conduction aid, which transmits sound from a microphone and amplifies it through a vibrating pad worn on the bone behind the ear.
Be sure to secure and understand the guarantee or warranty for your hearing aid.