With so many advances in hearing aid technology, hearing aid devices are now better at providing clear sound than ever before, and there a wide range of options for all types of hearing loss that are comfortable and aesthetically pleasing
Since the choices can be overwhelming, you may want to consider consulting your audiologist and ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist to help you figure out which technology and features fit your needs. Of course, functionality is the most important consideration, but with so many available features, you’ll need to decide which ones matter the most to you.
6 different types of hearing aids
1. Behind the ear (BTE)
- Receiver, microphone, and amplifier are inside the same device that sits behind your ear
- Tend to have good battery life, are the most durable, and often have the largest buttons
2. Receiver in canal (RIC)
- Newest style of hearing aids and are most like BTE models
- Often smaller than other models because the receiver (speaker) sits inside the ear
- Receiver (speaker) is located on the part of the hearing aid that enters your ear, resulting in less distortion than a BTE model
3. In the ear (ITE)
- Custom molded to the inside of your ear
- Often matched to your skin tone but are still quite visible
- Durable, easy for tracking, and effective
- Easy to to put in
- Battery life can last as long as 16 days
4. In the canal (ITC)
- Custom molded to your ear and sit inside your ear canal
- Smaller than ITE models and use a smaller battery
- Very small, durable, and easy for tracking.
- Easy to put in
5. Completely in canal (CIC)
- Sit inside your ear canal
- Very small and nearly invisible
- Deliver high sound quality despite their small size
6. Invisible in canal (IIC)
- Smallest available in the market and sit past the second bend of your ear
- Invisible to the naked eye
- Comparable battery life with CIC hearing aids, despite using a lower energy battery
What should I look for when choosing a hearing aid?
You should always choose hearing aids from a reputable brand with a history of satisfied customers. Hearing aids are an investment in your health and future, so choosing cheap hearing aids can wind up costing you more in the long run or even be ineffective for your needs.
Make sure to look at different hearing aid features and choose ones that would fit your lifestyle, level of activity, and cosmetic goals. Remember that hearing aids can last for up to 5 years and often come with warranties that cover things such as batteries and repairs.
Hearing aids are necessary to elevate your quality of life when you have hearing loss, so it’s important to make the right investment. Your advanced hearing aid should include the following features:
- Directional microphones
- Feedback suppression
- Wax guards
- Automatic volume control
- Bluetooth® connectivity
- Full noise reduction capabilities
- Advanced speech recognition
- Maximum number of sound channels
- Complete adaptive music listening program
- Tinnitus management program
- Smartphone connectivity
- Maximum feedback cancellation
- Binaural processing and learning features (recent advancements that are ideal for anyone who wears two hearing aids since it allows the hearing aids to communicate with each other and work together, processing sound from both sides at once)
Speak to your audiologist about the pros and cons of each of these features. It’s also important to think about your lifestyle. Whether you tend to enjoy quiet, intimate gatherings with a few close friends or an active outdoor lifestyle that includes a lot of background noise will affect the type of aids that best suits you.
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