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Hearing aids will not restore your hearing, but they will be immensely helpful to maintaining your current hearing health, and to establishing great, long term hearing habits.
If you are looking into hearing aids for the first time, it can be overwhelming to begin. If you are looking to change the hearing aid you already use, you may find that hearing aid technologies have changed a lot—which can also be overwhelming. This short guide will help you chart a path forward.
Deciding Factors in Choosing Hearing Aids
There are pros and cons to any hearing aid. One factor is of course the cost of hearing aids. But there are also pros and cons that are related to the different styles of hearing aids, as these styles are related to, and differently suited to, different kinds of hearing loss. Being aware of all of the pros and cons to different kinds of hearing aids will help you to assess your hearing needs and will also help you to make an informed decision that will undoubtedly shape your hearing for the better.
Hearing Aid Styles
Assessing the pros and cons of different types of hearing aids really depends on the kind of hearing assistance that you need. Hearing aids that fit inside of your ear are often small and relatively low power devices and are great if you have mild to moderate hearing loss. These hearing aids can generally by characterized in one of three ways:
Invisible-in-Canal (IIC) are typically quite small and custom-made hearing aid devices that sit relatively deep inside of your ear canal. They protrude very little and are often quite difficult to see—especially to the untrained eye. This is a pro for people who want a discrete hearing aid. If you are someone who has experience with hearing aids, invisible-in-canal hearing aids can feel like a welcome change to older or bulkier models—a big pro. A con for people who are newly addressing their hearing loss, however, is that these hearing aids are small and can thus be somewhat tricky to insert and remove. These devices are also not ideal for people with moderate to severe hearing loss. Because invisible-in-canal hearing aids are small, they have smaller batteries and are thus relatively low-power.
Completely-in-Canal (CIC) hearing aids are also placed inside the canal, but they are slightly larger than the invisible-in-canal version. CIC devices are custom designs and are made available with buttons to control volume and environmental concerns.
In-the-Ear (ITE) hearing aids are often visible in the ear bowl of your ear. A pro of these devices is their larger battery capacity. As a result, these hearing aids work very well with people with severe hearing loss. Other pros are that larger ITE hearing aids sometimes incorporate technological supplements such as wireless connectivity and volume control wheels and are generally equipped with directional microphones.
Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aids sit behind your ear and have a small, often clear, and very thin tube that connects to a small earbud with a soft tip that sits in your ear canal. A pro of this “open fitting” style is that it allows for natural airflow and sound to also enter your ear. This is a very popular style of hearing aid, as it is not only comfortable and relatively discreet, but also highly successful for people with a variety of hearing needs. For some, the larger, visible nature of this device, however, is a con.
Receiver in the ear (RITE) or receiver in the canal (RIC) is a style of hearing aid that is very similar to the BTE. The main difference is that the technology of RIC hearing aids is split into two parts of the device. The case behind the ear contains the aid’s microphone and sound amplifier. The small bud that is inserted into your ear canal, connected to the case by a thin tube, contains the receiver. This results in a huge pro for these hearing aids: with the microphone and receiver separate, RIC hearing aids have very little feedback and fewer problems with occlusion. Another pro, like the BTE, RIC hearing aids provide for much more natural sound and are quite comfortable. As with other devices, a con might emerge for people who want a more discrete device—though smaller and discreet devices do not often have the sound quality.
Get Fitted for Hearing Aids at Lifestyle Hearing Solutions
There are many pros and cons involved in choosing a hearing aid that is best suited for your needs. Once you identify whether you want a device that sits wholly within your ear, or one that provides the comfort and technological stylings of an out-of-ear device, you can begin the process of deciding the version that is most cost effective for your budget. Our team at Lifestyle Hearing Solutions is here to help. Contact us today for a consultation.