When experiencing hearing loss, you may consider using hearing aids to help you hear things clearly again. Your first contact should always be an audiologist, as they administer hearing tests to detect your degree of hearing loss and then can point you in the right direction when it comes to device selection.
There are multiple hearing aids available, and you may be wondering which option is best for you. Your audiologist will be able to help advise here, but here are your options so that you can make wearing hearing aids more comfortable and to suit your lifestyle.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids
These are suitable for people with mild to severe hearing loss, and comfortably fit the outer ear, extending behind the ear to the housing with all of the components.
BTE hearing aids house a microphone that picks up sounds and converts them into electrical signals, an amplifier which increases the volume of the microphone signals, a loudspeaker that converts electrical signals into acoustic signals, a speech processor that adjusts the signals to your individual hearing needs and filters out irrelevant sounds, volume controls, an ear hook connecting the hearing aid and sound tube and a disposable or rechargeable battery.
Disposable batteries will need to be changed regularly, whereas a rechargeable battery could be charged overnight when you’re sleeping. They can be worn comfortably behind the ear and come in a wide range of colors, shapes and styles to suit your needs.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids
If you want an easy-to-handle device, ITE hearing aids are a great option. The conventional ITE hearing aid comes in various sizes and is usually worn entirely inside the ear or ear canal. ITE hearing aids often house multiple electronic features such as directional microphones and telecoils. A telecoil is a small coil inside the hearing aid that works as a transmitter and helps receive sound directly into the ear.
All the components of an ITE are located inside a small shell. The volume can be easily adjusted and programs can be selected using a remote control. Many models can be connected wirelessly to electronic devices such as mobile phones and TV sets, but you may need additional accessories to achieve this.
In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids
ITC hearing aids are very similar to ITE hearing aids. They are slightly smaller and only sit in the lower part of your ear, filling the ear canal but not the entire ear concha. ITCs are made to a custom mold of your ear and so promise a snug fit with a relatively small and inconspicuous design.
ITC hearing aids tend to be much smaller, meaning they’re less visible to other people. However, due to their small size, this means they aren’t as powerful as other options such as BTE hearing aids. For those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss, ITC hearing aids would be the perfect solution, especially if you’re looking for something more discreet.
Other hearing aid options
For those that lead a more active lifestyle, or for those that prefer a more discreet hearing aid, there are other hearing aid options that may be better suited to you.
Completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids
If you lead an active lifestyle, or if you want a hearing aid that is virtually invisible to others, CIC hearing aids are perfect. CICs are put into the ear canal directly, making them one of the most discreet hearing aids on the market. However, they may not have as many advanced characteristics as other, larger models because of their smaller size. Much like ITC hearing aids, they’re molded to fit your ear, and the speaker is fitted at the back of the device to project sound directly into your ear. The microphone and battery sit at the front.
Invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aids
IIC hearing aids are worn deep in the ear canal, and are perfect for those with an extremely active lifestyle and for those that may want a more discreet hearing aid. IICs are inserted directly into the ear canal and cannot be seen from the outside. These hearing aids are popular among hearing aid wearers; however, they may not be suited to those with moderate-to-severe hearing loss due to the fact they are smaller and cannot provide the power that larger models can. Here at The Hearing Doctors, we understand your hearing is important. To arrange an audiology appointment, call (630) 315-2899 and our team will be happy to help.