If you have been experiencing auditory problems and your audiologist has recommended that you require a hearing aid, you may be feeling a little lost. After all, the majority of us don’t know a whole lot about hearing aids – it’s not a topic that the average person will look into until prompted to through necessity. But try not to feel too intimidated. Sure, there may be hundreds or even thousands of different options on the table, supplied by a host of different manufacturers and each having multiple different selling points attached. But with a little necessary information and a little steering in the right direction, you should be able to find the perfect hearing aid to suit both your requirements and your preferences down to a tee. For the moment, let’s focus on establishing the difference between “basic” hearing aids and “advanced” hearing aids. This is a topic that throws many first-time buyers, as well as individuals who are looking to upgrade their existing aids alike.

What are basic hearing aids?

While all hearing aids are composed of the same four components – the power source, the receiver, the processor, and the microphone – they can vary from one another quite drastically. Brands and providers tend to separate aids into two main categories to help people automatically whittle down the number of hearing aids that they will browse and decide between. The first category is “basic” hearing aids. Now, all hearing aids have dramatically improved in quality over the past few decades. Almost any option that you find on the current market is likely to be more than enough to serve the basic function of improving your hearing. But “basic” hearing aids do tend to be a lot more manual than their alternative – “advanced” hearing aids. Tasks that you may find yourself having to carry out with basic hearing aids include:

  • Manually adjusting the volume, turning it up or down of your own accord to adjust it to different environments you find yourself in.
  • Pressing a button to reduce noise that is coming from behind you.

Another factor that tends to differentiate “basic” hearing aids from advanced aids is that they only have two channels. This results in limited customization across different frequencies. While basic devices are computer programmable, they can prove relatively limited in their ability to be customized to unusual or irregular hearing loss patterns and tend to have less advanced features when it comes to control factors such as:

  • Feedback
  • Whistling
  • Background noise

What are advanced hearing aids?

Now we’ve been through the basics, let’s take a look at advanced hearing aids. Of course, these hearing aids are likely to be paired with a higher price tag, but this is because they do tend to offer a lot more to their users. While basic hearing aids tend to be very manual, advanced hearing aids are generally more automated. They take work out of the wearer’s hands and can often automatically adjust to the environment the wearer finds themselves in. Rather than two different channels, they can have up to eight different channels. These can help to separate sound, offering the wearer a higher signal processing resolution. On top of this, they tend to have extra features that simply make day to day life a little easier. Some features can include:

  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth hearing aids can wirelessly connect to a host of devices, streaming sound straight from the device to the hearing aid. Devices can include cell phones, tablets, laptops, and even televisions.
  • Data logging: Some advanced hearing aids can log data, storing relevant information, such as volume levels, in different listening environments.
  • Self-learning: Some aids can “learn” as they go, becoming used to your preferences and automatically adjusting settings when you are in familiar listening environments.

Which will be best for you?

It’s impossible to say whether basic hearing aids or advanced hearing aids are better, as this falls entirely down to individual and personal needs and preferences. If you’re looking for something very straightforward that you have more manual control over, basic aids may cater better to you. If you want something that takes work off your hands and is more compliant with modern technology, then advanced aids could prove preferable. If you are struggling to decide, it may be best to reach out to your audiologist who will know you better as an individual.

If you have any further questions regarding the difference between basic hearing aids and advanced hearing aids, or if you simply want to learn more, you can reach out to SoniK Hearing Care Services on (312) 346-1136.