Should I wear one hearing aid or two? Whenever hearing levels are the same between ears, we will always recommend that the patient wear two hearing aids. There is a substantial amount of research, which suggests that the brain is meant to hear in a "balanced" fashion with equal input from both ears. Occasionally, there are cases of asymmetric hearing levels (hearing levels which are different between ears) in which we might not recommend two hearing aids.
Which style is best for me? Hearing aids come in a variety of sizes and styles. Some are custom products that fit completely in the ear while others hook over the back of the ear. The degree and configuration of your hearing loss will often dictate which style is most appropriate for you. However, other factors including dexterity issues and cosmetics are also considered when selecting the most appropriate style.
The majority of hearing aids dispensed today are digital products. However, you will still have the option of selecting a "technology-level" when ordering hearing aids. Hearing aid technology ranges from "economy" to "ultimate." Within this range, features are either added or subtracted. For instance, higher end products have additional features to accommodate more complex listening environments. Patients are encouraged to consider their lifestyle and budget when making decisions regarding technology levels.
The BAHA system is a surgically-placed device with external attachment that picks up sounds and transfers the signal directly to the inner ear (cochlea). This is an alternative to traditional hearing aids for patients who have complete hearing loss/deafness in one ear or for patients with conductive or mixed hearing loss that cannot be managed medically.
Cochlear implants are surgically-placed device with external components that picks up sounds and transfers the signal directly to the auditory nerve. This option is reserved for patients with severe to profound hearing loss who receive limited benefit from hearing aids.