Hearing loss can have a major effect on your life, from work to relationships to mental well-being. Hearing aids can make a huge difference, particularly if you chose the right ones and get help adapting to them.
Hence, in this blog, we’ve talked about the different types of hearing aids and how they work.
How Hearing Aids Work
The same fundamental parts are used by all hearing aids to bring sounds from the world into your ear to make them louder. Many hearing aids are digital and are powered by either a rechargeable battery or a conventional hearing aid battery.
Sounds from your surroundings are recorded by small microphones. The incoming sound is transformed into digital code by a computer chip with an amplifier. It analyses the sounds depending on your hearing loss, hearing preferences, and the volume of sounds around you, and changes it. The amplified signals are then translated back into sound waves and transmitted by speakers, often called receivers, to your ears.
Things To Consider While Buying A Hearing Aid
Before going over the various hearing aid styles, let’s look at some pointers you must keep in mind while choosing the perfect hearing aid for you.
- Hearing aids should be designed to improve the sound of a distinct hearing loss. Otherwise, all the echo is amplified uniformly, which will not allow you to hear speech any better than before.
- Hearing aids come in many sizes and styles, ranging from behind-the-ear to completely in the ear canal. Make sure you choose a style that doesn’t only match the severity of your hearing loss but is also comfortable to wear.
- Background noise and feedback reduction are integrated into most digital hearing aid models, but you’re going to want to check this on every product you’re considering.
Hearing Aid Styles
Hearing aids differ widely in price, duration, special features and the manner they are put in your ear. The below are typical hearing aid types, starting with the shortest, least noticeable in the ear. Hearing aid designers continue to make smaller hearing aids available to satisfy the need for hearing aid that is not very obvious. With advancing technology and enhanced features, these smaller hearing aids are getting more powerful than ever.
1) Invisible in the Canal (IIC)
IIC are small hearing aids that are designed to be as discrete as possible. As hearing technologies advance, gadgets and even small hearing aids that work outside the ear can be hard to notice if you don’t know they’re there.
- Is the smallest, and least visible form
- Custom-made for a better fit
- Less likely to pick-up wind noise or any other disturbances
2) Completely in the Canal (CIC)
A completely-in-the-channel hearing aid is built and sculptured to fit almost completely into the ear canal (external auditory meatus) and is thus almost invisible, with only the faceplate and the battery drawer usually visible. Extraction cables are typically attached to the CIC hearing aids to help insert and extract cords from the ear.
- Is the second smallest, and one of the least visible form
- Good sound quality because of how they fit within the ear
- Due to the custom fit of the device, it is more comfortable to use.
- Doesn’t get in the way when using Mobile and headphones.
3) In-The-Canal (ITC) Hearing Aid
The in-the-canal hearing aid is specially moulded and slips partially into the ear canal. Often there are no additional features, like volume control or positional microphone. This type can enhance mild – to – moderate hearing loss in patients.
- Less noticeable in the ear than broader styles
- Large enough for directional microphones and volume control
- Improved sound clarity due to dual microphones.
- Longer battery life than IIC and CIC style
4) In-The-Ear (ITE) Hearing Aid
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid is specifically made in two styles—one that covers much of the bowl-shaped region of your outer ear (full shell) and one which fills only the lower portion of your ear (half shell). Both are useful to those with moderate to serious hearing loss and are equipped with directional microphones (two microphones for much better hearing in noise).
- Have manual button for sound control.
- Easier and comfortable to use due to custom size.
- Uses a bigger battery with longer battery life.
- Excellent sound quality and amplification.
5) Behind-The-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aid
A behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid loops over the top of your ear and lies behind your ear. The hearing aid is joined by a tube to a customized earpiece called an earmold that sits in your ear canal. This is the largest form of hearing aid has historically been, although some newest mini designs are simplified and scarcely visible. This style is ideal for persons of different ages and those with nearly any type of hearing loss.
- Has a spatial microphone
- Long lasting battery due to larger battery size
- More durable compared to other hearing aid styles
- Easy to clean, and due to their larger size, they are also easier to handle
6) Receiver-in-Canal (RIC)
The styles of the Receiver-in-Canal (RIC), also known as receiver-in-the-ear (RITE), are equivalent to those of the hearing aid with both the speaker or receiver in the ear canal. A tiny cable, rather than a tube, attach to the portion behind the ear to the speaker and receiver.
- Typically has a less visible behind-the-ear portion
- Dual-microphones help to improve speech understanding in noise
- Also available with a rechargeable hearing aid options
- More natural and crisper sound quality
An open-fit hearing aid is a new variant of the back-to-ear hearing aid with a narrow tube or a receiver-in-the-channel or a receiver-in-the-ear hearing aid with a wide dome in the ear. This style leaves the ear canal very open, making it easier for low-frequency noises to reach the ear spontaneously and for high-frequency sounds to be amplified by the hearing aid. This enables the style a good alternative for those with stronger low-frequency hearing and slight to severe high-frequency hearing loss.
- Sometimes visible
- Doesn’t plug your ear like in-the-ear hearing aid styles, sometimes allowing your own tone sounds much better for you.
Regardless of the type of hearing aid you choose, it needs time to become used to hearing aids. You will undoubtedly find that your hearing abilities are steadily improving as you get used to amplification. And your own accent sounds odd because you’re using a hearing aid. So, if you’re facing challenges with finding the right hearing aid style for you, consider visiting the nearest Oticon clinic to try our various hearing aid models.