Hearing aids come in so many styles and offer so many features, it can be overwhelming to determine which one is right for you. Fortunately, audiologists are specially trained in the hearing aid selection processes and will evaluate your unique hearing loss, lifestyle, aesthetic preferences and budget to help you find the best device for you.
Below is some information about different types of hearing aids to help you start thinking about what will match your preferences.
How Hearing Aids Work
No matter the style of hearing aid, they all utilize the same basic parts to help you hear. Small microphones collect sounds from the environment, then a computer chip with an amplifier converts the incoming sound into digital code. The hearing aid is programmed to analyze and adjust sound based on your unique hearing loss, then the amplified signals are converted back into soundwaves and delivered to your ears through little speakers called receivers.
Hearing Aid Styles
Different hearing aid styles are suitable for different types of hearing loss. Below some of the most common hearing aid styles are ordered from smallest and most discreet to largest and most powerful.
- Complete-in-canal (CIC) devices are molded to fit inside the ear canal and are nearly invisible. They work well for mild to moderate hearing loss in adults.
- In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are molded to fit partly in the ear canal and are slightly more noticeable than CICs – but also can offer more features. They improve mild to moderate hearing loss in adults.
- In-the-ear (ITE) hearing devices are made in two ways – filling the bowl-shaped area of the outer ear (full shell) or just the lower part (half shell). These work for mild to severe hearing loss.
- Behind-the-ear (BTE) devices rest behind the ear, and a thin tube connects the electronics to an earmold, which sits in the ear canal. These work for nearly all degrees of hearing loss and are commonly worn by children.
- Receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids are similar to BTEs, except instead of a tube there is a wire, and the receiver sits directly in the ear canal.
- Open fit devices are also similar to BTEs except they leave the canal open so low-frequency sounds can filter in on their own.
For more information about hearing aids or to talk to an audiologist, call The Audiology Offices today.