There are many different types of hearing aids on the market today, and it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you.
In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss all the different styles of hearing aids and provide you with information on each one. We will also give you a brief overview of the benefits and drawbacks of each type.
So, whether you are just starting your search for a hearing aid or you are already familiar with some of the different options available and would like an upgrade, this guide is for you.
Tell Me the Best Hearing Aid for Me
While an audiologist cannot tell you exactly which hearing aids are the best because everyone’s hearing is so unique, they can certainly tell you the top three they believe would suit your preferences. For most patients, their first concern is how the hearing aid will look.
In short, hearing aids have two major groups or styles:
- In the ear (ITE)
- Behind the ear (BTE)
Inside the two categories, you have a wide range of options to choose from. Your AVI hearing aid specialist can help you narrow down your choices.
In the Ear or Behind the Ear Hearing Aids?
While no hearing aid is truly invisible, there are many to choose from that are very hard for the onlooker to see, while others can be seen easily.
In-the-ear hearing aids can be worn in the ear or in the ear canal or both.
Invisible Hearing Aids
- Invisible in the Canal (IIC) – for mild to moderate hearing loss
These are almost invisible, and the sound quality is good. They can be managed through an app. The downsides of IIC hearing aids are that they need more cleaning than other hearing aids because of their proximity to sweat and earwax.
Users have said that the Bluetooth connection to the app can be unreliable.
- Completely in the Canal (CIC) – for mild to moderate hearing loss
With similar pros and cons to those of the IIC hearing aids, the CIC also require more dexterity to insert them.
Visible Hearing Aids
- Visible outside the Canal or in the Ear (ITC) – for mild to mildly severe hearing loss
Choose from one controlled by an app or manually. These tend to offer more features than invisible hearing aids, and the battery life is long. In-the-ear devices require more cleaning.
- Visible in the Ear (low profile) – for mildly severe to severe hearing loss
These are easier for those with low dexterity to manage and they aren’t knocked off the ear by glasses, masks, or oxygen cannulas, although if the wearer is very active, they might fall out sometimes. Many of these have no accompanying app.
Behind-the-ear hearing aids usually have the receiver or earmold behind the ear.
- Receiver in the ear or canal (RITE OR RIC) – for mild to moderate hearing loss The earmold is behind the ear.
These are a popular choice, with many models to choose from, high-quality sound, rechargeable options, an accompanying app, and a Telecoil feature.
The receiver is in the ear but the microphone and sound processor are visible, and the smaller the device, the more dexterity required. Daily cleaning is vital.
- Open fit (Mini BTE) – for mild to moderate high-frequency hearing loss
The open earbud sits in the ear canal.
Mini BTEs are not as obvious as BTEs and are smaller, with no earmold, as the earbud sits in the ear canal. This style requires extra cleaning too.
- Receiver behind the ear (BTE) – for severe hearing loss
Dr. Bauman is no stranger to open-fit hearing aids: he invented the Vivatone hearing aid, the first receiver-in-the-ear hearing aid with an open ear. He also invented the first open ear in-the-canal tinnitus device, which is now used for tinnitus treatment throughout the US.
Hearing Aid Fitting
There are many aspects to consider when buying and wearing a hearing aid, with style being just one. AVI’s recommendations will vary according to the severity and type of hearing loss you have, as well as your budget, lifestyle, and other needs.
Some questions to ask yourself would be:
- How visible do I want the hearing aid to be?
- Am I willing to do extra cleaning on it every day?
- Will my activity level affect how well the hearing aid fits?
- Will my level of dexterity make it hard to use the controls on the hearing aid?
- Which technology features are important to me – app, Telecoil, remote assistance and adjustments, auto-switch of background noise control?
- How long does the battery or charge last?
- Can I change out the earmold myself?
- Does my purchase include years of follow-up care and hearing aid maintenance, along with a warranty for loss and damage?
How Do I Get Hearing Aids?
The first step to buying hearing aids is to have your hearing professionally evaluated. The results of this will ensure you get a hearing aid that will perform well for your degree of hearing loss.
AVI New England includes some of the most trusted and influential hearing care experts in New England, and we can promise you that we can answer all your questions about hearing aids and what might work best for you.
Schedule a hearing evaluation at our Hamden, Norwalk, or Branford location and we can either start you on the path to better hearing health or help you choose the best possible upgrade to your current hearing aid.
We look forward to helping you.