Skip to main content
You are here: Health, Conditions & Treatments > Health topics    

En Español 

How to Choose a Hearing Aid


What is a hearing aid? A hearing aid is a small electronic device placed behind or in your ear to help you hear better. It contains a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. A hearing aid can help you if you have mild or moderate hearing loss. You may need a hearing aid in both ears.

How do I choose a hearing aid? The type of aid that is best for you may depend on the type of hearing loss you have. It may also depend on other factors such as how well you can handle small objects and your lifestyle. There are different sizes of hearing aids. You will want to choose a hearing aid that you can handle well. Some hearing aids cause more feedback than others. Feedback is a whistling sound that comes out of the ear mold when it does not fit properly. This feedback makes it harder for you to hear.

What are the types of hearing aids?

  • Behind the ear: A small plastic case rests behind your ear. It is connected by a tube to a molded plastic piece that fits inside your ear. This hearing aid has larger controls and dials. This aid may fall off when you are active, and it is hard to use with headphones.

  • In the ear: This plastic case fits inside your ear. It fits securely and may not be as easy to see as some other hearing aids.

  • In the canal: This aid fits halfway into your ear canal and is well hidden. It may be hard to use a telephone with this aid.

  • Completely in the canal: This aid fits entirely into the ear canal and is very hard to see.

How do I care for my hearing aid?

  • Change the batteries as needed: Batteries may need to be changed every 1 to 2 weeks.

  • Learn how to use the hearing aid: Learn how to use the features on the hearing aid, such as the volume, power, and special settings. Ask your caregiver how the hearing aid should be cleaned and maintained. When you learn how to use and care for the hearing aid, you can make sure that it is working properly.

What else can I do to try to hear better?

  • Learn about other listening devices: An assistive listening device (ALD) may be used with hearing aids to help you hear better. Ask your caregiver for more information about the use of ALDs.

  • Ask people to face you directly when they speak to you: Ask people not to cover their mouths as they speak. When you are in a group setting, sit in a location where you can clearly see the faces of the people who are talking. Ask people not to speak loudly or shout when they speak to you if they do this. People should speak using their usual tone and volume.

  • Avoid feedback: Earwax, dirt, or an ear infection can make feedback worse. Feedback can also worsen if there is an object close to your ear, such as clothing. You may also get feedback if the volume of your hearing aid is too high.

  • Give yourself time to get used to your hearing aid: It can take 3 months or longer to get used to the hearing aid and to get used to hearing better.

  • Keep all appointments with your caregivers: You may need appointments to adjust your hearing aid or to check for any changes in your hearing.

Where can I get more information?

  • American Hearing Research Foundation
    8 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 814
    Chicago , IL 60603-4539
    Phone: 1- 312 - 726-9670
    Web Address:

  • Better Hearing Institute
    1444 I Street NW, Suite 700
    Washington , DC 20005
    Phone: 1- 202 - 449-1100
    Web Address:

When should I contact my caregiver? Contact your caregiver if:

  • You still have problems hearing even when you use your hearing aids.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of the Blausen Databases or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

References and sources