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Hearing Aids for Sale

The Types of Hearing Aids for Sale in South Africa

Statistics regarding the incidence of deafness in South Africa vary. Estimates range from one to four million. What is clear, however, is that the figure is growing. More alarming, though, is that those affected are no longer mainly the elderly. Increasingly, a significant number of those who now have a need for one of the hearing aids offered for sale on the local market are young adults and some of these are actually teenagers or even pre-teens.

The explanation for this increase, as well as the growing tendency for younger people to feature more prominently among the hearing impaired, is well established. However, efforts to curb the trend are proving to be less than effective. The culprit is noise and, in fact, noise-induced hearing loss has now become more prevalent than age-related deafness. While regulations governing health and safety in the workplace mandate the protection for workers at risk from excessive noise, at home and in places of entertainment, constraints to ensure that noise levels remain within safe limits are seldom applied. Portable music devices with in-ear speakers and rock concerts have become the main reason for the increased sale of hearing aids in South Africa and developed societies in general.

Once an auditory impairment is suspected, this will normally be confirmed or excluded by an audiologist who will conduct tests designed to detect and quantify the extent of any impairment present and to identify its nature. Based on the findings of these tests, he or she will then be able to recommend an appropriate assisted hearing device. Most often, this recommendation will be a conventional digital amplification device but, in severe to profound cases of sensorineural deafness, a cochlear implant may be the only viable option. For those who are able to manage with the former, the choice of hearing aids for sale is extensive and, consequently, when deciding which one to buy, there will be a number of factors to consider.

For those with a good medical aid, the price need not necessarily be one of those factors, as all of the major funds will cover the bulk of the cost and, in many cases, all of it. It is, therefore, the design, the performance characteristics, and any special functionality that may be required that will most influence the choice of device. Often, it is the design of a unit that is important, as this will determine just how noticeable it will be to friends, family, and colleagues.

Where discretion is not an issue, of the various types of hearing aids for sale, those worn behind the ear (BTE) tend to offer the highest amplification where this may be needed and are often available in flesh tones in order to make them a little less obvious to others. These units transmit sound via a flexible tube connected to a moulded earpiece, by a much thinner tube with a soft tip or dome that fits loosely in the ear, or via a wire to a tiny loudspeaker in the ear. The two latter options, however, are only suitable for those with mild to moderate impairment.

Somewhat more discreet are those designed to be worn in the ear (ITE) and in the ear canal (ITC). All the working components are contained in the ear mould. The former remains visible, while the latter is less so but, due to their size, both lack the power of the BTE hearing aids for sale at accredited outlets, such as audiology clinics. Also available are completely-in-the-canal (CIC) and the very latest addition – invisible-in-the-canal models. Their names are a clear indication of how they are worn and the latter sits so deeply within the ear canal that it can only be inserted and removed by an audiologist who will also assume responsibility for cleaning and maintenance. It is also worth noting that both of these units are too small to support special features, such as the connection to an induction loop, and are only effective for mild-to-moderate hearing loss.

Other types of hearing aids for sale from certain manufacturers include CROS and BiCROS models, and are intended for those with unilateral deafness. CROS units redirect sound entering the impaired ear and relay it to the functional one, while BiCROS models collect sound from both sides and do the same.

Selecting the right product from the many hearing aids for sale is no simple matter, but one thing is certain – The Phonak brand is a guarantee of quality.