Hearing aids come in various types, to accommodate the desires and budgets of those who have been diagnosed with a hearing loss. Your Audiologist can certainly give you many more details than this short article, but you will be a more informed patient for having done your research.I strongly suggest you to visit hearing centers to learn more about this.
Gone are the days of putting a horn up to your ear to increase volume. Hearing aids have come a long way and some models are very advanced with nearly unlimited adjustability.
The two very general types of assistive devices are analog and digital. Analog hearing aids are on the low end of both price and quality. More modern digital models are simply more adjustable, which allows your Audiologist to program them to fit your specific hearing needs.
If you haven’t spoken to your Audiologist about a hearing screening, make sure you do. Using a graph outlining where your hearing is deficient will allow her or him to make the adjustments that will be so beneficial to you.
With these two main types explained, let’s move on to the 4 designs most common when choosing hearing aids types.
First is the Behind The Ear type, referred to as BTE. These simply rest on the back of your ear in the same way that a pair of glasses do. The downside to these is that they are quite noticeable and not as effective as models which are closer to the ear canal.
Next is the In The Ear style, known as ITE, which is less noticeable than the BTE style. This kind of hearing aid sits in the ear and provides better sound quality.
The ITC, or In the Ear Canal, hearing aid type is a bit smaller than the ITE style. These sit within the outer ear and are less noticeable than some other types.
Finally, the CIC, or Completely In the Canal, type of hearing aid is smaller and fits inside the ear canal to be the least detectable of all the hearing aids types.
So, to review, you have several types of hearing aids which fall into one of two categories:
Analog- old technology, less effective and precise
Digital- new technology, which is adjustable to your precise hearing needs
Besides analog and digital, you also have four styles, listed below:
1. BTE- Sits behind the ear, most noticeable. These can interfere with eyeglasses, as the electronics occupy that space. Also, phone usage can be tricky as the microphone itself sits behind the ear.
2. ITE- Less noticeable, sits inside the outer ear. Because they occupy the entire outer ear, patients may feel these are unnatural. Pediatric patients will require new ear molds as they age and grow.
3. ITC- Placed in the ear canal, less noticeable than both BTE and ITE. These are a little more tricky to adjust, as the miniaturized controls are naturally smaller.
4. CIC- Least noticeable of all, fits completely inside the ear canal. Because of the small size of these, and the requisite smaller power sources, batteries must be replaced more often. In addition, this style is more prone to built up ear wax and moisture. These have no external controls and must be adjusted by your Audiologist.
Each of these types have pros and cons, which is why it’s so important to have a full Audiological evaluation with a trained Audiologist to choose the one that’s right for your hearing loss.
Along with knowing these differences, it’s a good idea to make sure you have the proper accessories and are aware of the maintenance requirements for your model.