When managing hearing loss, it is important to work with an audiologist to take a hearing test and discuss the audiogram. This will help you understand your hearing loss and the steps that may need to be taken next.
If your audiologist recommends a hearing aid as your next step, then you need to acquaint yourself with the different kinds in order to decide which will work best for your situation. There are many things to consider when picking which hearing aid will work best for you. The type of hearing loss, your personal preferences and physical limitations are all factors you should consider.
Once you have discussed your needs with your audiologist, then you can start talking about the different kinds of hearing aids. Here is a short overview to let you know the basic differences and benefits of the major kinds of hearing aids.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids
ITE hearing aids are a small device that sits directly in the outer portion of the ear canal. It is custom fit and designed for each individual, to ensure effectiveness and comfort. Most people have small openings to the ear canal, so the device is relatively discrete. There are many benefits to choosing this kind of hearing aid.
The custom-fit design is achieved by a mold taken of your ear by your audiologist. That mold is sent to the manufacturer, who then makes the device. This is important because, without a snug fit in your ear, the hearing aid would fall out or be very uncomfortable.
The snug fit also ensures that the feedback is kept to a minimum, and the quality of the sound is higher since it is being fed directly into your ear. This is a perfect option for people who have a hard time finding other devices that are comfortable. People that use telephones or headsets a lot also find this is a good option to fit in with their lifestyle.
The simple design of the ITE is another benefit. All the components for the hearing aid are cased in the device, so there are no tubes or wires outside the case to break. They are also bigger than some counterparts, so they are easier to handle, clean and change the batteries. This is an important factor for young children or users with limited dexterity.
Since they are also a little bigger than some of the other options, they house larger batteries and larger amplification pieces. This means the power is stronger, which makes them a great fit for people with mild or moderately severe hearing loss. A twin microphone system also helps to make the sound quality clearer.
If you feel self-conscious about wearing a hearing aid, then the good news is this one can be easy to camouflage. There are no external parts outside of the ear, so they are not as noticeable and can be covered by longer hair.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids
BTE hearing aids have a small plastic case that sits behind your ear. This case houses all the batteries and electrical equipment. It is connected to the earmold, which sits directly inside your ear, by a wire.
Since the case doesn’t have to fit inside your ear, it can be a bit larger to house even bigger batteries. This means they are both easier to change and do not need to be changed as often. This also makes cleaning the device easier.
Reducing feedback is another benefit to using a BTE hearing aid. Because the electrical components are able to be further away from each other, this reduces interference that happens with other devices.
In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids
ITC hearing aids are the smallest option and sit in the outer part of the ear canal. Because they are small and fit inside the ear, they are more discreet than the other options. They are also custom-made, so they are comfortable and effective.
Due to their proximity to your ear canal, the sound amplification quality is high. This is ideal for people who have severe levels of hearing loss. The amplification is not the only thing that is good about this design. The sound quality is also superior due to the twin microphone design. They are also the easiest to disguise and cannot easily be recognized by someone in a casual conversation.
Finding an audiologist that will be with you every step of the way is important. At Audiology Associates, we believe in being that support for you. Call us today at (707) 981-4336, and let’s get started together.
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To health and staying connected,
Dr. Peter Marincoivch