Hearing Aids: The Different Types & How They Work
Hearing aids are devices that sit either in or on the ear to help you to hear sound clearer than before. They are run on batteries, and they come with a microphone that picks up on the various sounds in the area around you, which are processed electronically and then amplified. This gets passed onto the receiver and converted into sound you can hear.
Digital hearing aids come in a variety of styles and sizes, allowing you to find the solution that will best suit your specific needs. Additionally, they can be equipped with a multitude of different features to accommodate your hearing loss, whether you need Bluetooth connectivity or directional microphones.
Different styles of hearing aids
There are three main styles of hearing aids that your hearing aid specialist will talk you through before being fitted. Let’s talk through each style:
These are a larger and more robust hearing aid than others on the market today. They sit right behind your ear and the mold is custom-made to fit only you sits in the ear. They’re easier to manage because of their size, and these are appropriate no matter your age.
- These can be more discreet with the thinner tubes
- Suitable for profound hearing loss as they’re powerful
- Dual microphones are there to help you to improve speech understanding
- Both wireless and telecoil options
- If your dexterity is poor, you may struggle to manage these
- Not as crisp in terms of sound compared to other options
- Tubing may need regular replacement
- Condensation inside the tube affects the sound quality
- Microphone can be susceptible to damage because of debris behind the ear
The in-the-ear hearing aids are the biggest of the custom-made hearing aids as they are designed and specifically sculpted to fit the ear. You can have small extraction cords attached to the hearing aid for easy removal. With a size 13, you get up to two weeks of life in your hearing aid, but this always depends on how long you are using the hearing aids for each day.
- The ITE hearing aids are very powerful and suited for profound hearing loss
- Won’t come loose while talking and chewing
- Excellent as an option for those who have limited dexterity
- Not as discreet as other options
- May need to be re-shelled every now and then as the ear changes shape as you age
These hearing aids sit right inside your ear and are much harder to see unless you are looking for them. The completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids sit right inside the ear and are almost hidden inside the ear. Due to their size, they are often harder to adjust which is why it’s not the best style for children, or adults who may find getting them out too hard. There is also the invisible-in-canal (IIC) option as part of this hearing aid category, and it’s nearly impossible for others to see this one!
- Given they’re small, you’d think they wouldn’t be as powerful. Their size doesn't indicate power and they are more powerful than you would imagine
- Discreet, which makes these the top choice for those who don't want the world to know that they wear hearing aids
- The work well for mild to severe hearing loss. An ITC can be an excellent choice compared to other options if you haven't been able to get on with behind-the-ear hearing aids
- You can use these with telephones and headsets with no real problem. It’s not going to get in the way of what you’re doing
- ITC hearing aids may have a reduced battery life given their small size and how much power they use to work correctly
- They aren’t suitable for all hearing aid wearers, especially children who still have developing ear anatomy
- Individuals who find it difficult to pinch and have poor dexterity would not be able to use these as they’re too fiddly inside the ear
- Not always simple to change the battery and can be hard to manage if you’re not able to get your hearing aid out without help
The best person to speak to about your hearing aid needs is a hearing aid specialist who is trained to talk you through all of your options for your hearing. You can learn more about Armand's Hearing Center by calling this phone number, Bradenton at 941-748-9800 or our Sun City office at 813-938-1148.