Hearing aids provide more than just sound. They can help people connect with the world, fit in with peers, and even improve their mental health and prevent dementia. If your or a loved one is suffering from hearing loss, you might feel lost while browsing the wide variety of hearing aids. As technology has progressed, the style and variety of hearing aids has only broadened. Here’s what you need to know about the three primary types.
SLENT, or South Louisiana Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastics, has multiple locations throughout Mandeville, Hammond, and Slidell, Louisiana. Our experienced otolaryngology specialists can help you find the hearing aid solution that’s right for you..
Hearing aid basics
The concept behind hearing aids is simple. The aid takes sound, amplifies it, and plays it back to the listener. Because of this, all hearing aids are equipped with a microphone, a special amplifier, and a speaker. Some models come with additional features, including:
- Rechargeable batteries
- Noise reduction programs
- Tinnitus relief
- Directional microphones
- Remote controls
- Direct audio input
- Bluetooth (wireless connectivity)
Types of hearing aids
The type of hearing aid you buy can limit which features it comes with. There are three different types of hearing aids, each with their own limitations and benefits.
BTE hearing aids
Behind the ear (BTE) hearing aids are one of the most common choices. This is because they are easy to care for and can fit additional technology like wireless connectivity. They’re also good for children, since the ear molds can be replaced as they grow bigger.
BTE hearing aids can help with a full range of hearing loss, from mild to profound. BTE receivers also come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. The primary downside is that they’re somewhat conspicuous, and they might get in the way of glasses. Despite that, these hearing aids are versatile and effective, and a good place to start.
ITE hearing aids
In the ear (ITE) hearing aids are smaller than BTE models, and are designed to sit within the bowl of the ear. This makes them less visible than BTE hearing aids, though it also limits some of their functions.
While the battery life for ITE hearing aids is longer, many do not include features like wireless connectivity. However, they fit a wide range of hearing losses, making them rather effective. If you want a fully functional, easily overlooked hearing aid, ITE options are excellent.
CIC hearing aids
Completely in canal (CIC) hearing aids are effectively invisible, and must be removed with a small pull-out tab. They’re good for mild to moderate hearing loss, but not quite powerful enough to help with profound cases.
They might not be the first choice for those looking for extra features, but if you want something completely discreet, they could be perfect for you.
Choosing the best hearing aids for you
Hearing loss varies from person to person, so there’s no one-size-fits-all hearing aid. It’s up to you and your audiologist to find hearing aids that work for you, and this can take some trial and error.
Never buy hearing aids without a trial period, and don’t be afraid to ask for adjustments after your fitting. Hearing aids are an investment, and you should feel as comfortable as possible with your new purchase.
Interested in trying hearing aids for yourself? Want to learn more? Schedule a consultation with the experts at SLENT by calling the location closest to you, or visit the contact page for more information.