Hearing Aids | What Are the Different Types
Various Types of Hearing Aids
Hearing loss is a major but common issue that many people face today. It makes having conversations with friends and family more difficult. The good news is, there are now many kinds of hearing aids to choose from, depending on one’s needs. With so many options, you may not be familiar with each of them and their use. Read on to learn the various types of hearing aids used that are currently available on the market.
Kinds of Hearing Aids
There are various hearing aids you can get from your hearing doctor. All of them differ in size and how they’re placed in or on the ear.
Also known as the mini CIC, this style of hearing aid is made to fit deep inside the ear canal and is perfect for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. It’s the smallest and least visible type out there right now, making it barely able to pick up wind noise. However, because of its small size, it only has a small battery, making its life shorter compared to the other types. And because it’s plugged deep inside your canal, it’s very much susceptible to being clogged by earwax.
In-the-ear hearing aids are molded and made to fit completely inside the outer ear of the user. They use twin microphones to amplify sounds, giving them excellent audio quality. Some ITE hearing aids can have telecoils installed in them. A telecoil is a small magnetic coil that lets users receive sounds using the circuitry instead of the microphone directly. Certain activities such as talking on the phone would be much easier using this feature.
Due to their size, ITE hearing aids require a larger battery to operate, making their battery life longer. This type can have extra electronics and features that can be contained inside the hearing aid’s hard plastic casing. However, this type isn’t recommended for children as their ears are still growing.
BTEs are an all-around hearing aid that is appropriate for people of all ages. These hearing aids fit discreetly by hooking over the top of the ear and resting behind it. They’re comfortable and easy to maintain. These are the largest types available on the market, and because of that, they can pick up more wind noise than the others. It’s also not suitable for high levels of hearing loss because of its lower sound quality.
Receiver-in-the-ear hearing aids are also known as Receiver-in-Canal (RIC), depending on the manufacturer. They’re somewhat similar to the ITE and BTE styles but are more discreet than BTE. RITE hearing aids can minimize the sounds of your own voice because they allow the sounds to escape the ear. Newer models can sometimes have add-on features such as connectivity to other devices via Bluetooth.
If RITE hearing aids get damaged, they can be replaced at a hearing aid center instead of being sent to the manufacturer for repair. The downside to this hearing aid is that it can be clogged by ear wax and moisture since the speaker is inside the canal.
An open-fit hearing aid is similar to a BTE. It hooks behind the ear of the user, but it doesn’t block the ear canal. These can provide a more natural listening experience that the other styles may not be able to achieve. Because of their design and similarity to BTE, they are designed for people with high-frequency hearing loss.
However, it’s difficult to hear conversations in noisy environments when you use open-fit hearing aids. This type of hearing aid is also not advisable for people with severe hearing loss, as the amplification required can often lead to feedback noise.
Which Style Should You Pick?
Before you buy a hearing aid, it’s best to get a checkup first to know what type you should use. Consult an ear, nose, and throat doctor or an audiologist to identify what may have caused your hearing loss.
Talk to them about your needs and expectations and plan for long-term use. They’ll be able to perform a set of hearing tests that can determine the type and degree of your hearing loss. Lastly, know that hearing aids cannot restore your hearing to normal, so beware of any misleading claims and ads.