Hearing Aids: An Introduction

What are the different types of hearing aids?

Hearing aids are available in many different styles and technology. They can be very small and sit deep inside the ear canal (IIC) to the larger, more powerful behind the ear (BTE) style. The degree of your hearing loss helps determine which style would be best for you, as well as your lifestyle, dexterity, eyesight, and whether you’ve worn hearing aids before. The technology of the hearing aid - what helps you hear sounds and understand speech better - is determined by several things; your lifestyle (are you very active, or do you lead a more quiet lifestyle?), how tolerant you are to background noise, are you a musician, do you want - or need - to hear the smaller, softer nuances of speech and language?

IIC - Invisible-in-canal aids: these are the smallest style, and does depend on the shape and size of your ear canal. They are best suited for mild to moderate hearing losses.

CIC - Completely in canal aids: these also are very small, fit completely inside the ear canal, and are very good for mild to moderate hearing loss.

Canal aids - a bit larger than CIC aids, they sit just outside the ear canal. This style is suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss.

ITE - In the ear aids - these are larger, and fill the outside portion of the ear. They have easily accessible controls, and work well for mild to severe losses.

BTE aids - Behind the ear style. This style sits behind the ear, and there are 2 styles of BTEs:

BTE -the hearing aid sits behind the ear, and has a tube attached to a custom-made earmold that goes into the ear canal. These can be powerful hearing aids, have larger controls, and are suitable for mild to profound hearing loss.

RIC - receiver in the canal - this aid also sits behind the ear, but is generally smaller. It has a thin, lightweight wire which extends into the ear canal. This aid is suitable for mild to severe hearing loss, and is also available in a rechargeable style, which eliminates the need for batteries.

 

Technology of hearing aids

The digital technology of the hearing aid is what makes you hear and understand speech

 better in quiet situations, noisy environments, sporting events, music, etc. Hearing aid technology is divided into 3 tiers: Basic, Advanced, and Premium. All tiers of aids are able to be directly connected to your iPhone for streaming of music and phone calls, and have an app that allows you to make fine-tuning adjustments to your hearing aids. The app can be used for certain Android phones as well, but require a separate device for streaming phone calls and music.

Basic digital technology allows you to hear better by automatically adapting for quiet environments, TV, church, and low-level background noise. Other programs can be designed as needed.

Advanced digital technology builds on the basic tier by increasing the amount of noise reduction, and it looks at a wider range of information to automatically adapt for and allow for greater listening ease and comfort. Examples are music, higher-level background noise, and speech in a car.

 

Premium digital technology offers all that the basic and advanced tiers do, yet further increases the automatic adaptability of the aid so it will adjust to a wide variety of environments with ease. This aid offers the greatest amount of noise reduction and fitting flexibility for you, and allows for listening comfort and reduced effort in most environments, as well as loud, busy restaurants, sporting events, music, and outdoor use.

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