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Guide to Hearing Aid Types and Styles
Hearing aids have been around in some form or another for many years. Thanks to advances in modern technology, the ones being produced now are better than ever before. Most hearing impairments can now be helped with amplification in the form of a hearing aid, the wearing of which can often prove to be life changing.
Unlike the hearing aids of the past which were obtrusive and often unreliable, modern digital hearing aids are very discrete. They have features such as automatic volume control which means they are never too loud or never too quiet. They have automatic feedback reduction, which means that modern hearing aids no longer whistle. Thanks to wireless technology, modern ones are now able to connect directly with your TV or telephone.
Types and Styles of Hearing Aids
There are many different types and styles of hearing aids on the market today. Some hearing aids are small and discreet, and others are larger and more visible.
Hearing Aid Types
Your audiologist can help you find the most beneficial hearing aid for you. The most common type of hearing aid is the behind-the-ear device. This type fits over your ear and is connected to a small amplifier that sits behind your ear. There is also the in-the-ear device, which fits inside your ear canal.
1. Behind-the-ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
BTE (behind-the-ear) hearing aids as the name suggests fit behind the ear in a small plastic case that houses the hearing aid’s electronic components. This is connected to an earmold by clear tubing. For safety and growth reasons, this is often the best choice for young children. Open fitting BTE hearing aids are also available and are the ones that are generally used for adults. These are the most common type of hearing aids.
2. In-the-ear (ITE) Hearing Aids
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids fit in a small shell that depending on the size, either fits in the outer part of the ear, partially in the ear canal or completely in the ear canal.
Common Hearing Aid Styles
The specific style of hearing aid that your audiologist will recommend will depend upon a number of factors. Your choices will be one of the following:
1. Behind-the-ear Hearing Aid Styles
There are two main types of behind-the-ear hearing aid styles:
a. Behind-the-ear Hearing Aid with Earmold
The earmold is the part that fits in your ear. This is connected by a small plastic tube to the main part of the hearing aid, which fits behind your ear.
b. Receiver in the ear (RITE) Hearing Aid
Receiver in the ear (RITE) or receiver in the canal (RIC) is a type of hearing aid that is placed partly in the ear canal and partly outside the ear. RIC (receiver-in-canal) hearing aids are very similar in appearance to behind-the-ear hearing aids. However, they are different in one significant way: the speaker of the hearing aid is placed inside the ear canal. This type of hearing aid is becoming more popular because it is less visible than the traditional BTE hearing aid.
2. In-the-ear Hearing Aid Styles
There are several types of in-the-ear styles, set out as follows:
a. In-the-canal (ITC) Hearing Aids
In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are small and discreet hearing aids that sit in the ear canal. ITC hearing aids are a popular choice for people who want a discreet hearing aid that is easy to use.
b. Invisible in canal (IIC) Hearing Aids
Invisible in canal (IIC) hearing aids are tiny and rest in the second bend of the ear canal.
c. Completely in the canal (CIC) or invisible hearing aids
Completely in the canal (CIC) or invisible hearing aids are hearing aids designed to be completely hidden in the ear canal. They are not visible when you are wearing them. This makes them a popular choice for people who want to keep their hearing aids hidden. Read more about invisible ones.
d. Extended Wear
Extended wear hearing aids are devices placed in the ear canal by an audiologist and are worn for up to several months. They can be worn whilst exercising and because of this they are perfect for people who are very active.
FAQs about Hearing Aid Styles and Types
Which Type of Hearing Aid is the most Comfortable?
There are several different types of hearing aids on the market, and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some people find that one type of hearing aid is more comfortable than another, but there is no one perfect type that is guaranteed to be comfortable for everyone. Factors that can affect how comfortable a hearing aid is include the size and shape of the device, the materials from which it is made, and the way it fits in the ear.
Which Hearing Aid is Better: Behind the ear or In the ear?
In-the-ear hearing aids are more discreet and can be more easily hidden from view, but behind-the-ear hearing aids are more comfortable to wear and can often be more effective in amplifying sound. Ultimately, the best type of hearing aid for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences.
What is the Best Hearing Aid to understand Speech?
There is no one “best” hearing aid to understand speech. Some factors that may affect your ability to understand speech with a hearing aid include: the type of hearing loss, the features of the hearing aid, and the environment in which you are using the hearing aid. For example, if you have severe hearing loss, you may need a more powerful hearing aid with more features to help you understand speech. Conversely, if you have mild to moderate hearing loss, you may be able to use a less powerful hearing aid with fewer features and still understand speech. Additionally, the type of speech and the environment in which it is taking place can impact your ability to understand what is being said. For example, if you are trying to understand speech in a noisy environment, you may need a hearing aid with more noise reduction features.
What is the easiest hearing aid to wear?
There is no one answer to this question as different people will find different hearing aids comfortable or easy to wear.
What style of hearing aid is most effective?
Behind-the-ear hearing aids are more visible, but they are also more powerful and can be more effective at amplifying sound. If you are looking for a discreet option, then an in-the-ear hearing aid may be a better choice for you.
What are the 5 styles of hearing aids?
There are five main styles of hearing aid: in-the-ear, behind-the-ear, in-the-canal, completely-in-the-canal, and receiver-in-the-ear. Behind-the-ear hearing aids are the most visible, and fit over the ear. In-the-ear hearing aids are worn in the outer ear. In-the-canal hearing aids are smaller and fit completely in the ear canal. Completely-in-the-canal hearing aids are the most discreet and are not visible at all. Receiver-in-the-ear hearing aids are worn partly in the ear canal and partly outside the ear.
What is the best hearing aid for me?
As you can see there are a variety of types of hearing aid, with each type being having various manufacturers too. There are also a wide range of hearing impairments which means there is no one type of hearing aid that is best for everyone. After your initial hearing assessment with your audiologist, they will make a recommendation for you as to what types are best for your needs, requirements and budget.
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