Shopping for a hearing aid can be a confusing process when there are so many places you can turn to research your options, including reviews and recommendations from friends. However, an important thing to keep in mind is that hearing aids aren’t one-size-fits-all, straight from the box products. They need to be tailored to fit your life and your needs. Shopping for a hearing aid is all about your personal preferences and your specific hearing loss.

The best way to find the hearing aid that’s right for you is to visit a hearing specialist who offers a risk-free trial period. Hearing specialists are trained to evaluate your hearing and recommend devices that fit your needs. Once they have narrowed down your options you can use the trial period to really see how the device works in your everyday life. The longer the trial period the more time you have to test your hearing in different situations.

Be patient. If you’ve never worn a hearing aid before the first few days back in the hearing world can be overwhelming as you suddenly hear a lot of sounds you haven’t heard in awhile. Take some time and use the questions below to evaluate the hearing aid to make sure it meets your needs before you make a purchase.

Can you hear in the various environments you are often in?

Wear the hearing aid to church or the grocery store, where it is typically noisier. Then wear it in the quiet of your own home. Try wearing it outside and other places you might often go. Take note of situations where you could comfortably hear and situations where you found it more difficult. The hearing specialist will be able to adjust the device for some situations. You should be able to visit the hearing specialist for adjustments during the risk-free trial to ensure the settings are working for you.

Does it fit comfortably on or in your ear?

You have to wear the hearing aid for many hours a day, so it should be comfortable. Ideally you shouldn’t even know it is there. It may take a few days to get used to wearing something in or on your ear, but if the fit and style work with your life eventually you won’t notice them.

How easy is it for you to change batteries, filters and clean the device?

Practice changing batteries and make sure you can do it with ease. These basic maintenance procedures are vital to keep your hearing aid in working condition. If it is too difficult for you to do on your own- you may have to consider another style or have a loved one learn to do it for you.

Does it work well on the phone?

Using the telephone with your hearing aid can be very important and you don’t want to have to deal with annoying feedback or being unable to hear. Some hearing aid models can connect directly with your telephone or offer a special telephone setting. Make sure you know how to use the option that comes with your device or talk with your hearing specialist about extra accessories that may help you.

At the end of your trial if you were unhappy with any of the answers to the questions above, you should talk to you hearing specialist about trying a different hearing aid. Remember though, the longer the trial period the more time you have to go back and visit the hearing specialist to have things adjusted and tailored to your needs. Don’t be afraid to be honest with the hearing specialist about things you like and don’t like.