How to Help an Ageing Parent Choose a Hearing Aid

If your ageing parent needs a hearing aid, it's good to ensure that they address this as soon as possible. Not being able to hear can be dangerous; they may not hear a siren behind them when driving and may overlook the sounds of something boiling over on the stovetop, running water and other hazards in the home. Your ageing parent may resist getting hearing aids because they're afraid of how they will look or aren't sure of the right type, so note a few tips for helping them choose the best one for them.

In the canal models

Hearing aids that are in the canal models are the smallest and most lightweight and, as their name suggests, fit in the ear canal itself. If your parent is afraid of how he or she looks with a hearing aid, note that these are virtually invisible. However, that small size means that they usually cannot support certain features you might expect with a hearing aid, such as volume control. They may also only be good for mild to moderate hearing loss, as the mechanisms that pick up sound waves will also be very small. 

There is also the potential for earwax clogging with these models; note if your parent can manage using eardrops on occasion to alleviate this issue. The batteries of these models are also usually very small, so if your parent has arthritis or problems with such smaller pieces, you may need to be prepared to assist with changing the batteries as needed.

In the ear models

An in the ear model fits the bowl shape of the outer ear. It's more visible than an in the canal version but doesn't jut out or surround the outer part of the ear. These will pick up more sounds so they're better for more severe hearing loss, but they may also be more susceptible to picking up the sound of wind and background noises. Their larger size may make the hearing aid itself easier to handle for your parent and the batteries will also be larger, so they too may be easier to change.

Behind the ear

A behind the ear model has a controller that sits behind the ear with a receiver in the ear canal itself. These may be more noticeable, but they are also larger and easier to work with and may pick up the most sounds for those with extreme hearing loss. They may also offer more specific volume control for use in various settings, such as when there is background noise or when outside on a windy day.