Have you been told you need hearing aids and are wondering where to start? There are numerous types of hearing aids on the market and we understand the task of deciding which one is best for you can be daunting.
We can help. Here is a brief overview of hearing aids and assisted listening devices to give you a general idea of what’s exists. Call or come in for an evaluation and we’ll be happy to assist you in learning more.
In regard to function, all hearing assisted devices use similar parts to carry sound from the environment into your ear and amplify, or make louder, the sound so you can hear them more clearly. Small, barely noticeable microphones collect the sound and a computer chip with an amplifier converts the incoming sound into a digital code. The computer chip can also analyze and adjust the sound based on your level of hearing loss, needs and whether you are in a crowd or more private conversation. These signals are then converted back into sound waves and transmitted to your ears through speakers, also called receivers. The majority of hearing aids are digital now and powered with a tiny battery, often rechargeable.
Price, size, the way they sit in your ear, along with other specialized features can vary widely among hearing aids. Designers of hearing aids continue to make them smaller as the demand for less noticeable devices increases.
Some of the more common types of hearing aids include:
- Completely in the Canal (CIC) – These hearing aids fit completely in the ear canal and are molded specifically for the individual for optimal comfort. It is an excellent option for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. CICs are the smallest and least visible type on the market and they are less likely to pick up wind noise. However, because of their size, they lack extra features such as volume control or a directional microphone like others.
- In the Ear (ITE) – ITE hearing aids come in two styles: One that fills the bowl of outer ear structure that you see (called a full shell) and one that fills only the lower part (also called a half shell). Those with mild to severe hearing loss are great candidates for ITE aids because most have directional microphones for better hearing in noisy environments.
- Behind the Ear (BTE) – These hearing devices hook over the top of the outer ear and connect to a custom-made earpiece that is molded to fit inside the ear canal. BTE are one of the more common types of hearing aids as they are suitable for all ages and almost any type of hearing loss. They are larger than others but newer designs of BTEs are much more streamlined and hardly noticeable.
- Open Fit – The Open Fit hearing aids are similar to the Behind the Ear types but instead of having a molded piece inside the ear, the Open Fit type uses an open dome in the ear thus keeping the ear canal open and unobstructed. This style is a good option for those with mild to moderate high frequency hearing loss but relatively adequate low-frequency hearing.
Contact our office today and we would be more than happy to help you find the right hearing aid to improve your quality of life and get you back in the loop again!