Battery hearing aids or rechargeable aids? Let’s break this down. Until last Thursday the only hearing instruments on the market that were rechargeable were instruments that fit over or on your ears. So that made things pretty simple and clear cut. If you wanted an instrument that you didn’t have to put a battery in, then you got the over-your-ear style.

Last Thursday, Feb. 27, Starkey Hearing Technologies released the world’s first Custom Lithium Ion Rechargeable Hearing Instrument. It is available in either a full shell; which fills up the entire concha of the ear, or the ITC (in the canal version) This version to me is still a little larger than a conventional ITC but still relatively nice looking considering everything that the little device can do for us.

So... how do you know which is best. First, there is valuable information that is derived from your hearing evaluation and consultation as to which style instrument would work best for you. This has to do with your discrimination ability in quiet as well as noise. Directional microphone platforms run differently in various styles so your Hearing Health Care Professional should explain why a specific style is best. Sometimes, depending upon your scores, you can wear different styles. This will add a new twist.

No matter what your evaluation reveals you should ask to see and try on all the models. Keep in mind that the custom products are made from impressions of your ears and a model will not be a perfect fit. Trying on the different size models at least gives you an ideal of how they will look and feel in your ears. MOST hearing instrument batteries last about a week and then you replace them... easily. Some will only last about 4 days depending upon the size of the instruments and the battery. Invisible aids only have room for a tiny battery. Rechargeable hearing instruments run all day and you dock them in a charger at night with no worries. Of course, you do need to remember to take them when you go away for the weekend or you travel.

Now you have asked all your questions and you have tried all the different styles and hopefully you have enjoyed a demonstration of the sound quality with actual hearing instruments. Time to decide...... Decisions.....Decisions....

A little advice that I have learned over the years. The MOST IMPORTANT thing about picking which hearing instruments you should purchase is whether or not you will want to wear it. It all sounds good. But if you thought you wanted the one that goes in your ear because you didn’t want anything over your ear...yet you don’t really like the feel or the visibility of it....then you are probably NOT going to like the custom product. If you are surprised at how comfortable the one over your ear is and like the feel of it better then that is probably going to be a better choice. Again. The most important thing about hearing aids is that you want to WEAR THEM!!

Fortunately, working with Starkey Hearing Technologies gives us some flexibility. If for any reason a patient decides that they are in a style that they just don’t like, we have 90 days to change styles with out any additional fee’s. So really, you can not make a wrong decisions. Follow your gut. If you don’t care which style then let your Hearing Health Care Provider pick for you. If you have your mind made up on what you like best then go for it. To Hear Better Is To Live Better!