Deciding which hearing aid to get is not as easy as saying “the smallest, cheapest and clearest”. There are many factors that go into deciding which hearing aid is most appropriate for your particular lifestyle and specific hearing loss.
Different hearing aids are appropriate for different types of hearing loss. For example, people who have a high frequency hearing loss benefit the most from a receiver in the ear (RITE) style hearing aid. This allows the low frequencies to come in naturally and just boosts the necessary high frequencies for a more natural listening experience. If you were to select a completely in the canal (cic) hearing aid the device would be blocking the ear and therefore the natural low frequency sounds would be impeded by the hearing aid.
As audiologists, we can account for that low frequency deficit by increasing the amplification for those frequency regions. However, it does not have a “natural” sound and the patient often finds it unacceptable.
Once you have selected the style of hearing aid you will have to decide on the level of technology. Selecting the level of technology depends on your lifestyle. Higher end technology does a better job of separating out the speech from the noise. If you are active socially, often out in groups, go to meetings and are in big open spaces you are going to want a level of technology that is going to help you in all those different environments. If you are someone who stays home and really just wants to improve one on one conversation then maybe high end technology isn’t necessary. It is important to be honest with your needs so the audiologist can help make the right selection.