Hearing Aid Overview
Hearing aids have evolved, and there are now so many different styles on the market. The options that you have can seem daunting, so we’ve put this guide together to help you choose the right style.
Whether you prefer a small, discreet model or want something comfortable and easy to handle, we have something to appeal to everyone. A hearing aid lets you understand and hear more sounds around you. Here is how they function:
- Sound is picked up by a microphone and transferred to the digital processor.
- The computer processor modifies the sound signal according to the settings the hearing professional has programmed. The revised sound signal is then forwarded to the amplifier.
- According to the programmed settings, the amplifier increases the sound level, only amplifying the frequencies that the user has trouble hearing (while removing background noise). This signal is then forwarded to the speaker.
- The speaker brings that amplified sound to the ear, resulting in a brighter, more vibrant sound tailored to the user’s needs.
Hearing Aid Styles
One of the most widely recognized hearing aids, the behind the ear hearing aid lies behind the outer ear, with a filtering mechanism channeling the sound down through the ear canal. These models have the broadest range of features and can accommodate the largest fields of hearing loss.
Receiver-in-Canal/Receiver-in-the-Ear (RIC / RITE)
This is one of the most popular hearing aid styles due to the combination of features and relatively modest size. RIC hearing aids, like the BTE model, allow the main body of the device to rest behind your ear. The RIC hearing aid has a thin wire extending from the body of the hearing aid to the receiver in your ear canal. These hearing aids are easy to clean, and owing to their size can house more features. They are available in both open and closed versions and can accommodate virtually any hearing loss.
These are the only types of custom-fit hearing aids that can handle any level of hearing loss and are big enough for tech accessories like directional microphones and telecoils. For those with reduced dexterity, ITE hearing aids are a good option too. The battery life lasts between 12 and 14 days.
This style is more discreet than the standard ITE and tailored to fit your ear canal. These hearing aids have a longer battery life than the smallest types of hearing aids. They are placed in the outer ear bowl. They boast a slightly longer battery life than shorter types, fit a broader range of hearing losses, and fit extra features such as microphones and a volume wheel.
The CIC hearing aid is virtually invisible and rests inside your ear canal, allowing for a more natural sound. It is specially crafted to fit comfortably into your ear. Although one of the most discreet models, batteries need to be handled and replaced more regularly than other models.
As the name suggests, aside from the clear removal loop, the IIC sits entirely within your ear canal. The IIC has a battery life of 4 to 7 days. If you want absolute discretion, this is a great choice.
Adjusting to Hearing Aids
When you start using hearing aids for the first time, the brain needs time to get used to the sound signals that it has been missing.
After years of distortion induced by hearing loss, re-acclimating the brain to the sounds of everyday life can be difficult. Over time, its ability to do so will improve, as the actual sounds of everyday life are reintroduced into your consciousness after years of not being heard. When you start using hearing aids regularly, it will become easier.
We acknowledge that after the initial fitting of the hearing aid, there is still work to be done to hear better. To adapt to your new hearing aids, it takes time, practice, and experience. We’ll provide you with specific resources designed to help you re-acclimate to the sounds around you. Your hearing journey will take some work, but we’re with you every step of the way.