In the last few years, hearing aids have come on leaps and bounds. Most models are no longer bulky and uncomfortable to wear. They can be discreet and even invisible in some cases. There are numerous benefits to hearing aids and a few challenges.
Poor hearing can be isolating, lonely and upsetting for the individual. Hearing aids can improve your hearing and help you to feel connected with the world around you.
Visit an audiologist to find out which hearing aid is the most appropriate for your level of hearing. Here are the types of hearing aids available and their different designs.
Behind the Ear Hearing Aids
Behind the ear (BTE) hearing aids sit behind the outer ear with tubing that routes the sound down into the ear canal with a custom ear mould. The hearing aid speaker is in the hearing canal, and the microphone and process are on the outside behind the ear. A thin wire connects them and offers above-average sound quality.
It does not block the ear canal opening and coms in various colours to match your skin tone. Most come with a standard button battery that can be replaced every 3 to 20 days. Rechargeable batteries are included in the more advanced models. BTE’s are likely to have wireless connectivity to phones and more advanced tech, like artificial intelligence. The speaker can also be replaced separately, and telecoil options are popular.
However, the speaker inside the ear can be damaged by ear wax and moisture. The main downside of BTE aids is that they are more visible – but their larger size can also house more features and battery power. A BTE with earmold style is usually offered to children to be reprogrammed as the child grows.
Inside the Ear Hearing Aids
Inside the ear (ITE) hearing aids are preferred by those who don’t want the device to be visible. Some fit very deeply into the ear canal and are virtually invisible. They have to be removed by tugging on a small pull-out string. They provide fantastic sound quality because they are deep within the ear – but can be a challenge for wireless devices to connect to. Their tiny size is also a problem for dexterity, and they are more suited to mild or moderate hearing loss.
ITE’s can also sit closer to the outer ear, making them more comfortable and easier to use. The models that sit in the outer ear bowl offer a better battery life and can be used for a wide range of hearing losses. They can host directional microphones and manual controls for busy environments. Some people feel like their ear is blocked while wearing these aids.
The right hearing aid can transform your day-to-day life.