Hearing Aids

If the time comes that you need hearing aids, it can be easy to be overwhelmed with the choices. MaineHealth providers are here to walk you through the process and make sure you have the hearing aid that will best fit your needs and lifestyle.

What are hearing aids?

Hearing aids are small devices that you wear on or in your ear that help your hearing.

While they don’t actually make you hear better, they do make sounds louder so you can hear them. A hearing aid can’t fix hearing loss.

How do you know if you need a hearing aid?

You should tell your doctor if you notice any of these things regularly:

  • You have trouble understanding what other people are saying or have to ask them to repeat themselves often.

  • Someone who lives with you complains about you having the TV too loud.

  • You don’t want to talk on the phone because it’s hard to understand what the person is saying.

  • When you’re in a group of people or a noisy place, it’s hard to focus on what one person is saying.

  • You don’t care to go to the movies, church or other large get-togethers because you miss a lot of what is being said.

  • You find yourself straining to hear conversations.

If these apply to you, your doctor may refer you to an otolaryngologist (an ear, nose and throat doctor) or an audiologist (someone who specializes in hearing problems) for a hearing test. This test will show if you have hearing loss and need a hearing aid.

Hearing aid styles

There are a few different styles of hearing aids. Your otolaryngologist or audiologist will be able to help you figure out which will work best for you. Here are the common styles.

  • Completely in the canal

  • Partly in the canal

  • In the ear

  • Behind the ear

  • Receiver in canal or ear

  • Open fit

Each style has pros and cons so go over each with your provider. You might want a completely in the canal style but might find that you want one of the extra features of a different style even more.

Some hearing aids have extra features that might be worth the extra expense to you. Here are a few of them:

  • Batteries that can be recharged instead of replacing them

  • Remote controls so you don’t have to take your hearing aid out to change the volume

  • Wireless connections which allow you to turn your hearing aid into a Bluetooth receiver

  • Audio inputs that you can use to connect to your TV, tablet or computer with a cord

  • Microphones that are pointed in front of you that reduce the noise coming from behind you

  • Programmable settings so you can easily switch from one listening environment to another

  • Telecoils that can make it easier to hear on certain phones

  • If you need hearing aids in both ears, some can be set up to work with each other automatically so you only have to adjust the volume on one.

Getting a hearing aid doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Most MaineHealth organizations have someone who is specially trained and will help get you hearing better as soon as possible.