Hearing aids: How to choose the right one

Hearing aids

Perhaps you’ve considered obtaining a hearing aid but are concerned about how it will appear or whether it would actually help. It may help to alleviate your anxieties to learn more about:

You have a variety of hearing aid alternatives available to you.
What to Look for When Purchasing Hearing Aids
How to Become Accustomed to a Hearing Aid
Normal hearing cannot be restored with hearing aids. They can help you hear better by boosting noises you’ve been having difficulty hearing.

Perhaps you’ve thought about getting a hearing aid but are concerned about how it will look or whether it will actually help. It may help to calm your nerves to learn more about:

How hearing aids work

You have a number of hearing aid options available to you.
When Buying Hearing Aids, What Should You Look For?
How to Get Used to Using a Hearing Aid
Hearing aids cannot restore normal hearing. They can assist you with hearing better by amplifying noises that you have been having problems hearing.

Hearing aid styles

Hearing aids vary greatly in price, size, special features, and how they are inserted into your ear.

The following are the most prevalent types of hearing aids, starting with the smallest and least visible in the ear. Hearing aid designers continue to create smaller hearing aids in order to suit the desire for a less obvious hearing device. However, the smaller hearing aids may not be powerful enough to provide you with the increased hearing you desire.

Completely in the canal (CIC) or mini CIC

A hearing aid that is totally in-the-canal is molded to fit inside your ear canal. It helps persons with mild to severe hearing loss.

An entirely in-canal hearing aid:

  • Is the smallest and most inconspicuous variety.
  • Is less susceptible to picking up wind noise.
  • Uses relatively small batteries, which have a limited lifespan and might be difficult to handle.
  • Frequently lacks supplementary features such as volume control or a directional microphone.
  • Is prone to earwax clogging the speaker.

In the canal

A custom-molded in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid fits partially in the ear canal. This design can help persons with mild to moderate hearing loss.

In-canal hearing aid:

  • Is not as obvious in the ear as larger designs.
  • Features that will not fit on entirely in-canal aids yet may be difficult to alter due to their small size
  • Is prone to earwax clogging the speaker.

In the ear

An in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid is available in two configurations: one that occupies the majority of the bowl-shaped portion of your outer ear (full shell) and one that only fills the lower section (half shell). Both are beneficial to persons with mild to severe hearing loss and come with directional microphones (two microphones for better hearing in noise).

Hearing aids for the ear:

  • Features such as volume control are not available on smaller design hearing aids.
  • It might be easier to manage.
  • Uses a bigger battery for increased battery life, with multiple rechargeable battery alternatives.
  • Is prone to earwax clogging the speaker.
  • Smaller devices may pick up more wind noise.
  • Is larger and more obvious in the ear than smaller gadgets.

Behind the ear

A behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid is attached to the top of your ear and sits behind it. A tube connects the hearing aid to an ear mold, which is a personalized earpiece that fits in your ear canal. This type is suitable for persons of all ages and with virtually any sort of hearing loss.

Hearing aids for behind the ear:

  • Traditionally, the most noticeable style of hearing aid, while some modern tiny variants are streamlined and barely apparent.
  • There are directional microphones.
  • Is more amplification-capable than other styles
  • Wind noise may be picked up more than in other forms.
  • It could come with a rechargeable battery.

Receiver in canal or receiver in the ear

The receiver-in-canal (RIC) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) hearing aid types are similar to the behind-the-ear hearing aid in that the speaker or receiver is located in the ear canal. Instead of tubing, a small wire links the component behind the ear to the speaker or receiver.

A hearing aid with a receiver-in-canal:

  • Has a less visible behind-the-ear portion.
  • There are directional microphones.
  • Manual control options are available.
  • It is possible that a rechargeable battery will be available.
  • Is prone to earwax clogging the speaker.

Open fit

An open-fit hearing aid is a type of behind-the-ear hearing aid that has a thin tube or a receiver-in-the-canal or receiver-in-the-ear hearing aid that has an open dome in the ear. This style leaves the ear canal wide open, allowing low-frequency sounds to enter naturally and high-frequency sounds to be amplified by the hearing aid. As a result, the style is ideal for persons with good low-frequency hearing and mild to moderate high-frequency hearing loss.

A hearing aid with an open-fitting:

  • Is frequently visible
  • Because it does not plug the ear like in-the-ear hearing aids, it typically makes your own voice seem better to you.
  • Because of the noncustom dome, it may be more difficult to insert into the ear.

Additional features

Some optional features of hearing aids improve your ability to hear in specific situations:

Noise reduction.

All hearing aids offer some level of noise reduction. The degree to which noise is reduced varies. Some even provide wind noise mitigation.

Directional microphones.

These are aligned on the hearing aid to improve the pickup of sounds from in front of you while reducing the pickup of sounds from behind or alongside you. Some hearing aids can only focus in one direction. When you’re in a setting with a lot of background noise, directional microphones can help you hear better.

Rechargeable batteries. 

Rechargeable batteries are available in some hearing aids. This can make maintenance easier for you by eliminating the need to change the battery on a regular basis.

Telecoils.

When using a telecoil-compatible telephone, telecoils make it easier to hear. The telecoil muffles sounds in your environment while picking up sounds from a hearing-aid-compatible telephone. Telecoils can also pick up signals from public induction loop systems found in some churches and theatres, allowing you to hear a lecture, play, or movie more clearly.

Wireless connectivity

Hearing aids are increasingly able to communicate wirelessly with Bluetooth-enabled devices such as cellphones, music players, laptops, and televisions. It is possible that an intermediary device will be required to pick up the phone or other signal and transfer it to the hearing aid.

Remote controls

Some hearing aids include remote control, allowing you to change settings without touching the device. Some hearing aids wirelessly connect to a cellphone and include a cellphone application that allows the cellphone to be used as a remote control.

Direct audio input.

This function allows you to use a cord to connect to audio from a television, computer, or music device.

Variable programming.

Some hearing aids have the ability to save many preprogrammed settings for different listening demands and circumstances.

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