Shopping around for a hearing aid is a difficult job when you're not quite sure what you need. Today's hearing aid market offers a large variety of different models with a multitude of special features. It's important to realize that there is no perfect hearing aid that will work for everyone; you will need to spend some time talking to specialists and trying different models to find one that works for you.

Step One: Research

Before you can pick out a hearing aid, you need to think about what you're looking for in a device. Start by thinking about your lifestyle.
For example, if you spend a large chunk of your day outside, you might want a hearing aid with a good noise cancellation feature.
If you frequently need to use the telephone, you can look for a hearing aid that has special settings for telephone use.
Hearing aids also come in a variety of different designs to suit your preference. Many hearing aids sit inside your ear, but you can also find one that rests on the outside of your ear.

Step Two: Look for Hearing Aid Providers

Now that you have an idea of the type of hearing aid you'd like, you can start looking around for a hearing aid center in your area. You can start with a simple online search with your favorite search engine. Look for centers that have listings on independent review sites so that you can get an unbiased report on the quality of the center's service. You can also ask friends and family members for recommendations. They will be able to give you more thorough reviews and can answer questions for you. Finally, your regular physician may also be able to point you in the direction of a reputable hearing center.

Step Three: Test Your Hearing

After selecting a hearing aid provider, it's time to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment. At your appointment, the audiologist will test your hearing. Once the audiologist has determined the extent of your hearing loss, he or she can make recommendations on a device. Your appointment also provides a good opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about your hearing troubles or about hearing aids.

Step Four: Receive and Test Your New Hearing Aid

Depending on your hearing loss and the shape of your ear, you may need to wait a few days or weeks to receive your hearing aid. You'll need to return to the hearing aid center in order to have the audiologist fit you for your new device. You'll also receive important instructions about how to care for your hearing aid and what you can expect to experience with your new device. Before you leave the appointment, tell the specialist if you feel any discomfort with your hearing aid. It will take some time to get used to the feel of the hearing aid, but it should not cause you any pain or excessive discomfort.

After the appointment, you can begin testing out your new hearing aid. During the testing phase, keep in mind several things, including:

  • Wearing your hearing aid consistently can help you adjust to the new device

  • Adjustments may be needed to perfect the fit

  • Dramatic improvement to your hearing may not happen immediately

  • You may need to try several different devices to find the right one for you

Settling for the first hearing aid you try may not improve your hearing or your life. If you're willing to go through the steps and fully test each device, you can find the right hearing aid for you.