Hearing Aid Styles
Hearing aids come in a variety of shapes and styles. Different styles of hearing aids are available to help meet the needs of each individual. A Mid-KS ENT hearing health care professional will assist in the decision making process to find the hearing aid that best fits the needs of each individual patient.
CUSTOM HEARING AIDS:
With advances in technology, hearing aids can now be made small enough to fit completely in the ear canal. When considering this style of hearing aid, there are several factors: size and shape of ear canal, degree of hearing loss, configuration of hearing loss, dexterity issues, tendency to produce wax, and cosmetics.
The CIC is slightly larger than the IIC and can be seen at the opening of the ear canal. The CIC is still very discreet and can be a good option for someone whose ear canal cannot accommodate an IIC.
If a custom style hearing aid is preferred for individuals with more significant hearing loss, the ITE may be a good option. The faceplate of this hearing aid sits in the bowl of the ear and is more visible. Due to the increased size of the ITE, there are more hearing aid features available such as: volume control, push button, dual microphones for directionality, and larger fitting range.
The remote microphone style is an innovative technology designed by GNReSound. This style utilizes the natural folds and curves of the ear to pick up sound. The microphone of the hearing aid is tethered outside of the shell case and is seated in the cartilaginous grooves of the outer ear. This allows a larger microphone, for better sound quality. Additionally, by removing the microphone from the shell case, there is more room in the shell to accommodate a more powerful circuit or a smaller shell case for more discreet fits.
BEHIND-THE-EAR HEARING AIDS:
Just like the name sounds the BTE hooks over the top of the ear and the amplified sound travels down a tube that leads into the ear canal. The BTE comes in a variety of shapes and sizes including a miniBTE, which utilizes a thinner tube, making it more cosmetically appealing. The BTE is available for any fitting range, from mild hearing loss to profound hearing loss. Different accommodations may need to be made for each individual pertaining to how the hearing aid is fit to the ear canal. This will depend on the degree and configuration of each individual’s hearing loss.
Currently, the RIC is the most popular style of hearing aid. It is similar to a traditional BTE with the exception that the speaker sits in the ear canal. This helps improve the sound quality by decreasing the distance between the speaker and the ear drum. The RIC can also fit a wide range of hearing loss by changing the speaker strength. This is very beneficial for individuals who are concerned about outgrowing the fitting range of their hearing aid.