Which Hearing Aid Is Best For You?
If you’re in the market for your first pair of hearing aids, or if you’re upgrading from a pair you’ve had for several years, there are a few things to consider when shopping for your devices.
All hearing aids use similar parts to carry sounds from your environment into your ear, amplifying the sounds so you can hear them better. But there are many different types of hearing aids that are unique in size, style, features, and the way they are placed in or around your ear.
Find Your Style
The different styles of hearing aids are:
The IIC sits deep inside your ear canal where it isn't visible at all. As a result they are great for those who would feel self-conscious wearing a visible hearing aid. IIC hearing aids are custom made to fit the shape of your ear canal, and they are easy to remove for cleaning. IIC hearing aids come with advanced features, and are suitable for people with mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
Completely In The Canal (CIC):
This is the smallest and least visible type of hearing aid, and because it fits directly into your ear, it is the least likely to pick up noise from the wind. The batteries are very small and have shorter lifespans than batteries in other hearing aids, and it doesn’t come with extra features like volume control or directional microphones.
In The Canal (ITC):
These custom-molded hearing aids fit partly in your ear and are less visible than larger styles of hearing aids. They may also include features that won’t fit on CIC hearing aids.
In The Ear (ITE):
These hearing aids are generally easier to insert, and include features like volume control and directional microphones. They use larger batteries than the canal-style hearing aids, and are more visible than smaller devices.
Behind The Ear (BTE):
These hook over the top of your ear and rest behind the ear. A tube connects the hearing aid to a custom earmold that fits into your ear canal. This type of hearing aid is capable of more amplification than other hearing aids, and they are now made much smaller and more discreet than they used to be.
Directional microphones: This feature can help you hear better in loud environments, because the microphones are directed to pick up sounds in front of you while minimizing the sounds behind you.
Telecoils: Hearing aids with telecoils allow you to hear sound directly from a telephone, microphone or speaker, while eliminating other sounds around you.
Wireless connectivity: More and more, hearing aids can wirelessly connect with Bluetooth-compatible devices like computers, cell phones, music players and televisions.
Remote controls: These allow you to adjust the features on your hearing aid wirelessly, without removing the hearing aids first.
This is just a small sample of the many styles, features and technologies available in hearing aids today. Between the different manufacturers, different styles and different features, there are almost endless possibilities to choose from.
“So which hearing aid should I choose?”
The type of hearing aid that's best for you depends on the type and severity of your hearing loss, as well as your favorite activities. An experienced audiologist can recommend the best options for your unique situation.
Since different brands and models of hearing aids have their own strengths and weaknesses, it's important to work with an audiologist who has access to many hearing aid brands (and knows the difference between them!), so they can offer you the most suitable models to fit your specific needs and lifestyle.