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The Pros & Cons of Different Hearing Aid Types

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Intervening in hearing loss can make a significant difference in quality of life. People with undiagnosed and untreated hearing loss tend to have much higher rates of depression, anxiety and feelings of isolation. Once you’ve decided to take the important step towards a fuller and easier life with hearing aids, making an appointment with your audiologist is the best next step. Don’t get fooled by the latest gadgetry or the best sale offer. Different types of hearing loss require different capabilities in a hearing aid and among the myriad of wonderful options, there’s sure to be that is the best fit for your unique life.

Behind the ear

Comprised of a custom ear mold connected to the hearing aid unit with a small plastic tube, behind the ear hearing aids will work for hearing loss that is mild to profound. They’re wonderful for first-timers. They’re larger, for one, which makes them much easier to adjust and operate. They also tend to last longer than the smaller devices on the market, so behind the ear hearing aids are for you if longevity is a major concern. These models can accommodate a directional microphone and offer volume control. Behind the ear hearing aids are also ideal for people with smaller or hard-to-fit ear canals.

You might, however, want to avoid these types of hearing aids if subtlety is what you’re after. They are a larger option and those same attributes that make them accessible also make them visible. Behind the ear hearing aids can make phone use awkward, but that is less of a concern now that Bluetooth technology so seamlessly integrate with your smartphone.

Mini behind the ear

This type of hearing aid is very similar to a behind the ear models. The mechanics of the hearing aid are still housed in a unit that sits behind the ear, however, the plastic tube connects to a smaller earbud that sits inside the ear canal. This option leaves the ear canal open, so as to avoid the “stuffed” feeling of a behind the ear type hearing aid with its custom mold.

These carry much of the same drawbacks as a classic behind the ear option, being on the larger side of the hearing aid market. They’re also similarly awkward to wear when using a traditional telephone.

Receiver in canal

The receiver in canal hearing aid houses the microphone and amplifier which is then connected via wires to either an earbud or custom mold receiver that sits in the ear canal. These are a frequent choice for people who want their hearing aid to be undetected. Their sleek design and minimal size make for a very subtle product. They also tend to have excellent sound performance of all available options and are less likely to have feedback problems.

However, choosing a receiver in canal model might lead to a future that includes many repairs. Because the receiver sits in the ear canal, it is more vulnerable to moisture.

In the ear

These types of hearing aids contain the entire mechanics of the hearing aid in one custom made unit that sits in the ear. They are incredibly simple to insert and have a lower price point. They’re not the most exciting design style, however, and are quite conspicuous.

Completely in the canal

These tiny wonders are remarkable in that they deliver excellent quality of sound all while hiding within the ear canal. Part of this genius design is the human body: the outer ear acts as a funnel in order to aid in sound amplification and location. Completely in canal hearing aids are very discreet.

Technological advances in hearing aids have resulted in immense amounts of power and capability in even the smallest of devices. However, some features might not be available in all completely in canal hearing aids. Because they sit within the ear canal, they are also more susceptible to moisture damage.

Invisible in canal

A popular choice because they are nearly invisible, these are the smallest hearing aids available to users. They are small enough to fit deeply within the ear canal, placing them right up next to the eardrum for easy sound delivery. This same placement of the invisible in canal option, right up next to the eardrum, is an easy sound delivery system for users to adjust to. This is because the using the eardrum as an amplifier more closely mimics natural sound. The miniscule design also allows for sound and air to continue to move through the ear canal, so they’re incredibly comfortable.

These hearing aids aren’t an option for everyone. They don’t treat significant hearing loss, and perform best when hearing loss is mild. They don’t have the space to house more intelligent technology or more than one microphone, so sound sort of enters into the device from all around instead of multi-directionally.

Talk options with us at Hearing Consultants

The perfect choice of hearing aids for you will be entirely different from the next person. At Hearing Consultants, we will best be able to evaluate your unique hearing loss, lifestyle, and the most compatible option for your needs.