The Commonwealth Hearing Services Program provides basic hearing aids free of charge (conditions apply). The program also subsidises more advanced technology, or top-up, hearing aids which have an out-of-pocket price. So which is best for you?

As explained in Digital Hearing Aids, modern devices don’t simply amplify sounds as spectacles magnify what we see, but the process is more subtle and sophisticated.

In quiet places such as two people talking at home, or watching TV, most modern hearing aids perform well.

However, in more difficult environments such as restaurants, groups, or shopping centres, better technology is able to focus on speech and reduce the noise. This can make a big difference to how easy it is to follow a conversation in noisy places.

More sophisticated hearing aids are also able to adjust automatically to different environments, can connect wirelessly to your mobile phone, and may be smaller, lighter and more comfortable to wear.

Below is a simple table explaining how different levels of technology suit different listening environments.

One to one
Watching TV
Dinner table
Small meeting
Social gatherings
Wireless connection to TV, Bluetooth etc