What Type Of Hearing Aids Are Right For Me?
Choosing the right hearing aid can seem overwhelming. With so many styles and options to choose from, how do you know what fits your needs? At HearCare Audiology, our hearing care professionals can help you navigate your journey from beginning to end. When selecting the right hearing device, there are a few important considerations to look at.
Level of Hearing Loss
The first step is to determine the level of hearing loss that you have. There are four main categories of hearing loss:
- Mild Hearing Loss: Difficulty hearing faint or distant speech.
- Moderate Hearing Loss: Cannot hear faint speech, difficulty at conversational speech.
- Severe Hearing Loss: Cannot hear conversational speech, difficulty with loud speech.
- Profound Hearing Loss: Cannot hear loud speech, difficulty hearing loud sounds.
Based on the results, we can match the proper level of equipment to your level of hearing loss.
Your lifestyle and the type of activities you participate in will help us further narrow your search. There are three main categories of lifestyle:
- Quiet Lifestyle: A quiet lifestyle may include occasional background noise such as adult conversations, small gatherings, shopping trips, or other short outings. You might also frequently watch television and look forward to a few regular shows you enjoy.
- Relaxed Lifestyle: A relaxed lifestyle requires hearing aids for listening environments that accommodate occasional background noise for situations such as regular conversation and family gatherings, quiet restaurant dining, and driving. You might also frequently watch television and look forward to a few regular shows you enjoy.
- Active Lifestyle: Active lifestyles require hearing aids that are designed for individuals that are in listening environments that include frequent background noise. These include participating in group events or meetings, consistently enjoying music and video entertainment, and large outdoor gatherings like sporting events.
Hearing aids come in two main types of battery options, standard and rechargeable batteries. When buying hearing aids it’s important to take into consideration which type of battery is right for you.
Finally, we will find the right hearing aid that fits your needs and meets your budgetary requirements. Our team can help you explore your options and find a solution that works for you.
Styles of Hearing aids
Style refers to the type of device and how it fits in or on your ear. Today you have your choice of almost invisible, comfortable, discreet, and high fidelity hearing aids. There are many hearing aid types and styles on the market. If you have difficulty seeing or working with small objects, like buttons or dials, there are hearing aid models that can make adjusting your hearing aid much easier.
Here are some of the most common styles of hearing aids:
Completely in the Canal
A completely-in-the-canal (CIC or mini CIC) hearing aid is molded to fit inside your ear canal. It’s the smallest and least visible type.
In the Canal
An in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid is custom molded and fits partly in the ear canal. It is less visible in the ear than larger styles.
In the Ear
An in-the-ear (ITE) aid is custom made in two styles — one that fills most of the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear (full shell) and one that fills only the lower part (half shell). Generally, these include features that don’t fit on smaller style hearing aids, such as a volume control.
Behind the Ear
A behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid hooks over the top of your ear and rests behind the ear. A tube connects the hearing aid to a custom earpiece called an earmold that fits in your ear canal. Traditionally, this is the largest type of hearing aid, though some newer mini design variations are streamlined and barely visible.
Receiver in Canal or Receiver in the Ear
The receiver-in-canal (RIC) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) styles are similar to a behind-the-ear hearing aid with the speaker or receiver in the canal or the ear. A tiny wire, rather than tubing, connects the pieces. These have a less visible behind-the-ear portion.
An open-fit hearing aid is a variation of the behind-the-ear hearing aid with a thin tube. This style keeps the ear canal very open, allowing for low-frequency sounds to enter the ear naturally and for high-frequency sounds to be amplified through the aid. It is less visible than a traditional BTE device.
The Truth About Hearing Aids
Hearing aids will not return your hearing to “normal,” and they cannot “cure” your hearing loss. They do, however, work very well when fit and adjusted properly. Your hearing aids should be comfortable for both physical-fit and sound levels. If you feel any discomfort in either area you should immediately return to your hearing care provider to have adjustments made to provide a pleasant fit
Getting Used to Hearing Aids
It may take a few days to adjust to your new hearing aids. For many, it can take a few weeks and even months. Typically the greater the hearing loss and the longer it has been prevalent, the more time it will take to adjust to the hearing aids.
Although there is no ideal way to adjust to hearing aids. Audiologists are professionally trained to provide techniques and programs after your fitting.
Background noise can make any situation difficult to hear for those with or without hearing aids. And even though hearing aids won’t eliminate background noise the good news is that many of the hearing aids available today amplify the sounds you want to hear and help reduce many of the less desired sounds.
Dual microphone technology can effectively decrease background noise for many with certain types of hearing loss. Your audiologist can help you determine the best technology options for your hearing loss, sound preferences, and communication needs.
Assistive FM listening devices can be an additional solution to reducing background noise in different environments. Speak with an audiologist to find out how this technology can work with your device to improve how well you hear in difficult listening situations.
One Hearing Aid vs. Two Hearing Aids
When you have two hearing aids, you can take better advantage of the way the brain processes sound through what’s known as binaural hearing. With normal hearing, sound signals from both ears are comparable in strength.
Wearing two hearing aids help with better localization of sound, the ability to better understand speech from a distance, and allows better sound quality with lower amplification. Over 60% of patients who are fit with hearing aids are done so bilaterally