Choosing a hearing aid

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You can greatly increase your satisfaction with a hearing aid
by following these suggestions:
• Learn about the choices
Hearing aids come in many styles and sizes — from small ones that fit completely in the ear canal to larger ones that fit in or behind the ear. The components can be analog or digital. The disposable “one-size fits-all” hearing aids can’t comfort- ably fit everyone, so discuss all options with your audiologist.

• List your priorities
When people buy hearing aids, they typically face a trade-off
among three factors — cost, performance and size. If you rank those factors, it’ll help you and your audiologist make a selection.
• Find out what meets your needs
Make sure you understand why a specific type of hearing aid is recommended and how it will meet your needs. Don’t assume the latest, most expensive model is best. Practice put- ting the battery in and taking it out until you can do it easily.
• Buy on a trial basis
A hearing aid should come with a 30- to 60-day trial period and
a warranty. Get the terms of the trial period in writing. Also ask how long the warranty lasts — preferably one or two years — what is and isn’t covered, what the return policy is, and what symptom relief. Oral decongestants or anti-allergy nasal sprays may help. Avoid decongestant nasal sprays because they can worsen nasal congestion. Ask your doctor for advice.
• Pinpoint the offender
If medications aren’t effective, a skin test may help identify the substance you’re allergic to (allergen). Tiny amounts of suspected allergens are introduced into the skin by multiple pricks, scratches or injections. Be sure a doctor who special- izes in allergic diseases does the test.
• Consider allergy shots
If you have a severe, recurrent allergy, or if allergy medica- tions aren’t working, allergy shots may help to desensitize your system. Begin them at least six months before your allergy season starts.

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