Understanding the Different Types of Hearing Aids

Understanding the Different Types of Hearing Aids

Hearing loss can make it difficult to carry on conversations, socialize, enjoy music or films, and more. Hearing aids can help alleviate those problems, improving your social life by making it easier to communicate and fit in with your peer group. Aids can even play a part in supporting mental health and reducing the risk of dementia

Finding the right type of hearing aid for you can be a challenging process. There are so many features available thanks to advancing technology, and it might be hard for you to decide which type of hearing aid is best. A professional can help explain how different aids work, and which one(s) might be right for your specific needs.   

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 option that’s just right for you.. 

Hearing aid types

There are many different types of hearing aids, but no matter how many bells and whistles they have, there are three components required. A typical hearing aid includes the following components:

 

  1. A microphone, which picks up the sound
  2. An amplifier, which makes the sound louder and clearer
  3. A speaker, which transmits the sound to the inner ear

The three main types of hearing aids are are named for the location they’re placed in:

Behind the ear

Behind the ear (BTE) hearing aids are the least expensive when it comes to basic models, and can be easily adjusted for the perfect fit. They’re also highly customizable, coming in different colors and shapes. If additional technology like Bluetooth capability is required, it’s easy to add on. 

These hearing aids can be used for a full range of hearing loss, from mild to profound (severe). In many cases, they’re the first choice for children, since they can easily be adjusted as they grow, unlike molded hearing aids, which have to be completely recast.  

As the name suggests, the main apparatus of a BTE hearing aid sits behind the ear, with a small tube that curves around and points into the ear canal to send sound to the inner ear.

In the ear

In the ear (ITE) hearing aids are designed to sit within the bowl of the ear, making them less obvious than BTE hearing aids. 

There are two types of ITE aids: ones that fill the entire shell of the ear, making them larger, but leaving more room for additional features, like directional microphones; and ones that only fill the inner bowl of the ear, making them more discreet but slightly less powerful. 

These aids are fully functional, and also cover a wide range of hearing loss, but the smaller versions can be slightly less powerful than BTE options. 

CIC hearing aids

Completely in canal (CIC) hearing aids are more or less invisible. They sit inside the ear canal snugly, being molded specifically for your ear(s).

Each one has a small pull-out tab so you can remove them easily to clean them. You need to clean them regularly and carefully to remove earwax without damaging the hearing aid.

These aids work well for people who have mild-to-moderate hearing loss, but they typically lack the power needed to manage profound hearing loss. They’re also too small to allow many additional features, such as noise reduction programs (helpful in a crowd) or direct audio input.

Are you ready to see what a change hearing aids can make in your life? Schedule a consultation with the experts at SLENT by calling the location closest to you, or visit the contact page for more information.  

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