Over 28 million U.S adults could benefit from using hearing aids, which shows how important getting an ear examination is.
Hearing aids are a fantastic tool and although these devices can’t magically restore your hearing, they help immensely. Perhaps you’ve decided to get a hearing aid but you’re not sure which one is the best for you.
Sounds familiar? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything to know about the different types of hearing aids.
Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
Before we dive into the different types of hearing aids, it’s important to learn how they work. Note, hearing aids are small devices that amplify sound vibrations to improve your hearing and speech.
Every device has a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. Once the sound hits the microphone, it’s converted into electrical signals, and the amplifier cranks it up so the ear can receive a crisper sound.
A popular version is a behind-the-ear device like this Lucid Enrich Pro hearing aid. The hard case, containing the electronic component, sits behind your ear and covers a wide range of hearing loss, from mild to extreme.
These are great because they’re easy to clean and relatively sturdy. If your little one needs a hearing device, then consider this type because you can replace the earmold as your child grows.
In-the-Canal (ITC) Hearing Aids
Another option is the in-the-ear hearing device, which fits snugly in your ear canal. This is great if you want to hide your hearing aid and it’s compatible with mild to severe hearing loss.
But, because of its small size, the canal has less space for the mechanical component so it’s harder to adjust or remove. ITC hearing aids are often recommended for people with profound hearing loss, rather than children.
Low-Profile Hearing Aids
If you’re stumped on how to choose a hearing aid, consider getting a low-profile one. This looks like the ITC version but you have more freedom with the style. For instance, you can get a full-shell design that almost covers your entire ear or a half-shell design.
Low-profile hearing devices often feature a microphone and manual controls so you can easily adjust the volume. And although it’s less discreet than other styles, this is great for people struggling with their dexterity, as it’s easier to handle.
Receiver-in-the-Ear (RITE) Hearing Aids
A receiver-in-the-ear hearing aid is an open-fit style. This means the speaker is built into a removable ear dome, rather than in the main part of the hearing device. It sits in the ear canal while the microphone is behind the ear, connected via a thin wire.
RITE hearing aids are popular because they come with a rechargeable battery and if the speaker breaks, it can easily be replaced. But avoid getting a mini-RTE as it’s fiddly and vulnerable to moisture or ear wax damage.
Open-Fit Hearing Aid
If you want a mix between the open-fit hearing aid or the receive-in-ear style, then this is for you. An open-fit hearing aid keeps your ear canal open so low-frequency sounds can easily enter the ear while higher-frequency sounds are louder. It also means your voice sounds clearer to yourself.
But the downside is that it’s often visible, which isn’t ideal for everyone.
We’ve covered the basics but most hearing devices offer a wide range of features. For instance, devices with directional microphones are better at picking up sounds coming from around and beside you, so it’s less disorientating.
You may also want a hearing device with telecoils so you can converse on the phone with no auditory issues. This is because the telecoil quietens the sounds in your environment so the recipient’s voice is crisper.
Many hearing aids come with a remote control so you can alter the features without touching them. Or the device is compatible with an app that you can access via your smartphone.
Analog or Digital?
Not sure of the difference between analog vs digital hearing aid?
The former converts sound waves into electronic signals which can be turned up or down. It’s also possible to choose an array of listening environments such as in a quiet room or a crowded restaurant.
In contrast, digital hearing aid devices convert waves in numerical codes. This data includes the pitch or volume level, so the aid can amplify a wider range of frequencies. And like analog hearing devices, you can program the aids so it focuses on sounds coming from a certain direction.
How to Find the Best Hearing Aid For You
You understand the basics, but how do you find the ultimate hearing aid for you?
If you’ve already got a hearing device and are happy with the style, upgrade to a new model so that it has better features. Otherwise, take a hearing exam so you know your hearing ability.
For instance, you may have poor hearing in both low and high sounds. If this is the case, you’ll benefit from an ITC hearing aid whereas if your hearing loss is in higher frequencies, then get an open-fit RITE style.
Plus, knowing your quality of hearing directs you to essential features so you can find the hearing device of your dreams.
Different Types of Hearing Aids
Hopefully, after reading this article, you now know the different types of hearing aids available.
Decide whether you want an external device, like a behind-the-ear hearing aid, or a custom-made in-the-canal aid so it fits inside your ear. Then, you can choose your desired settings so you can finally be confident about your hearing again. Good luck!
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