Do you find it hard to hear conversations in restaurants? You may very well need hearing aids. Consumer Reports finds-that might be easier said than done.
Consumer Reports asked dozens of volunteers to purchase pairs of hearing aids to assess the shopping experience.
They can be expensive-on pair cost more than six-thousand dollars. Also, getting the right hearing aid for your needs is no easy matter.
"Two thirds of the 48 hearing aids were not adjusted properly for their wearers. In addition, a lot of shoppers didn't get information on features that could have helped their hearing aids' performance," said Consumer Reports' Tobie Stanger.
There are all sorts of hearing aids to choose from. Consumer Reports says no one hearing aid is good for everyone.
"Your first step is to find a person and place to prescribe and fit your hearing aids," said Stanger. "Ideally, that's an ear doctor's office, which usually will employ audiologists."
Consumer Reports says when shopping for a hearing aid, discuss your lifestyle.
Ask about a telecoil if you talk a lot on the telephone.
Consider a directional microphone, which helps people hear in noisy environments.
And find out about digital noise reduction, which helps reduce annoying background noise.
"When you pick up your hearing aids, it's critical that they're fitting properly." said Stanger. "You need to have several tests done. One that's crucial is called the real-ear test."
That test measure the match between your hearing loss and the response of your hearing aid.
Consumer Reports says whenever buying a hearing aid, always be sure to get a money-back guarantee.
And don't forget to practice using a new hearing aid before you take it home.
For instance, you want to try using the controls and changing the batteries.