A look into the “world” of hearing aids
We all know who manufactures quality TVs, cars and clothing, but what about hearing aids? In general, I do not suspect that the general population keeps up with ins and outs of the hearing healthcare industry. In this article, we will look into the “world” of hearing aid manufacturers and what to look for when deciding which hearing aid may be best for your needs.
The “Big Six” hearing aid manufacturers
There are six major hearing aid manufacturers in the world today: Widex, Starkey, Phonak, Signia (formally Siemens), Oticon and Resound. These have quality products that, in the hands of a hearing healthcare professional, can provide excellent improvements for a patient with hearing loss. Of these six manufacturers two (Widex and Starkey) are privately owned companies and one (Starkey) is U.S. based. These manufacturers have good research and development for new technologies and they are all able to take care of patients with a wide variety of hearing losses. If you purchase a hearing aid from one of these manufacturers, you can be assured you are receiving a quality product. Most audiology clinics work with these major manufacturers and can provide services for patients who use them.
Does the manufacturer of your hearing aid really matter?
For one patient recently seen through our clinic, the answer would be a resounding “Yes.” Like many individuals, this patient purchased a pair of hearing aids from a retail hearing aid store and had good results until they had to relocate and found that their hearing aids could only be adjusted or worked on by that specific retailer. The retailer did have options from the major manufacturers but chose to fit their “private label” hearing aids that locked the patient into their service. Had this patient been better informed, a different hearing aid might have been requested that would have allowed for improved follow-up care and less headache in the future.
While it is important to know what you are getting when it comes to hearing aids, your overall success with hearing help options is largely due to the skill of the audiologist you are working with and how well the two of you together are able to talk through and meet those needs in follow up appointments. Many audiologists choose 1 to 3 hearing aid manufacturers that they believe to work well for their patients and focus their abilities on those specific products. Trust your audiologist and his or her recommendations, but don’t be afraid to ask questions when it comes to selecting your hearing aids.
If you or a loved one have noticed increased difficulties in communication and are ready talk about options for improving your hearing, Call ENT Audiology Center at (325) 437-3617 to set up your comprehensive hearing evaluation. ENT Audiology Center, “Helping You Hear Better So You Can Live Life Better.”