When it comes to selecting a hearing aid, you often hear audiologists talk about 'high power' or 'low power.' So, what is hearing aid power? Do you know what to consider in terms of power when choosing a hearing aid?
Hearing aid power, also known as 'Maximum Power Output,' is one of the most crucial performance indicators for hearing aids. In simple terms, the higher the power, the greater the ability of the hearing aid to amplify sound. This corresponds to the severity of hearing loss, just like a brighter bulb with higher wattage. Internationally, hearing aid output power is classified into five categories: low power, medium power, medium-high power, high power, and extra-high power.
- Low Power: <105dB SPL
- Medium Power: 105-114dB SPL
- Medium-High Power: 115-124dB SPL
- High Power: 125-135dB SPL
- Extra-High Power: >135dB SPL
Does this mean that the higher the power of the hearing aid, the better the sound quality? Not necessarily. It's similar to getting prescription glasses for your specific degree of nearsightedness. Wearing glasses with a higher prescription than needed can cause dizziness. Similarly, if the hearing aid power is too high, it may adversely affect the wearer's ability to hear and could potentially further damage residual hearing.
Now, what if my hearing worsens? Do I need to get a new hearing aid with a higher power?
No need to worry. When recommending a specific hearing aid, audiologists consider this scenario and leave a certain margin. This ensures that even if the wearer's hearing declines, they can continue using the same hearing aid. Therefore, users don't need to specifically choose a higher-powered hearing aid that may not be suitable for their current level of hearing.
Advice on power selection:
Consider the style and appearance of the hearing aid. Different styles of hearing aids have different power capabilities. Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids can achieve extra-high power, catering to various degrees of hearing loss. Custom in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids offer good concealment but may have limitations on power due to their smaller size. They are suitable for mild, moderate, and severe adult hearing loss but may not be ideal for users with extremely severe hearing loss.