Modern hearing aids are nothing like the devices your parents (or grandparents) wore. The advent of digital technology has paved the way for increasingly smaller and more sophisticated instruments that offer better clarity and come with a variety of features like bidirectional microphones for a more accurate and improved listening experience. There is a device ideal for your unique lifestyle needs.
Styles of Hearing Aids
Hearing aids come in a wide range of styles, many of them custom molded to fit your ear for better sound quality. They are smaller and offer numerous features unavailable in the past, and boast unparalleled comfort. Your audiologist can recommend a hearing aid best for you based on your lifestyle and activity.
Hearing aids are classified by where they fit on your ear. Styles include:
Open-Fit or Over-The Ear (OTE).
The most popular style of device thanks to its small size and unobtrusiveness, this instrument consists of a small case worn behind the ear, and a thin electrical wire attached to the receiver. Open-fit styles feature minimal intrusion in the ear canal, but issues with feedback and low-frequency noise leakage may occur.
Completely-In-The-Canal Devices (CIC).
This custom molded instrument is placed deep within the ear canal to reduce the occlusion effect. Its tiny size requires less power to operate the device and prevents excessive feedback from occurring. CIC hearing aids are an excellent choice for people who suffer from mild to moderate hearing loss.
In-The-Canal Devices (ITC).
These devices are also custom molded and placed in the ear canal, but are a little bigger, delivering high quality sound and batteries that are easier to replace than those found in CIC instruments. ITC hearing aids are perfect for those with mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
In-The-Ear Devices (ITE).
This custom molded instrument is placed in the concha of the ear (the outer bowl). It’s more visible than other models, but makes up for that with a range of great features such as noise cancellation and wireless connectivity to FM receivers. Persons with severe hearing loss may experience feedback issues.
Behind-The-Ear Devices (BTE).
This instrument includes a case that sits behind the ear, containing the electronics and other components, and a tube that transmits sound to the ear canals. Its external positioning makes it visible to others, but on the flip side, there is less risk of damage from moisture or earwax. It’s a flexible device suitable for those experiencing mild to profound hearing loss, and is an ideal choice for children.
Invisible-In-Canal Devices (IIC).
IIC hearing devices contain a custom shell that is placed deep within the ear canal, and can’t be seen by others. They need less amplification than CIC units, and their sound quality is more natural, with less of an occlusion effect. Their deep placement makes them prone to earwax, and their small size might frustrate people with poor motor skills. IIC instruments are useful for mild to moderate hearing losses.