With there being so many different types of hearing aids available, how do you know which one will work for you? Every type of hearing aid has its own set of pros and cons that should be considered.
Whether you are concerned about your new hearing aids being visible, not enhancing your ability to communicate as well as you want, or worried about how you will adjust, we have you covered!
Read our guide below on how to choose the right hearing aid for you. We will go through what types of hearing aids are available, how to get used to wearing them, and features you may want to look for:
How do hearing aids work?
Hearing aids are small digital devices that can be customised to suit the wearer. They work by picking up sounds in the environment with a small microphone. These sounds are then amplified by a computer chip which is sent to your ear via a speaker. How well it analyses the sounds is based on the severity of your hearing loss and the kinds of sounds in the environment.
Before you buy hearing aids
If you have been living with hearing loss for a while, you may be starting to consider buying some hearing aids to help improve your listening and communication. But before you start shopping around, here are some things to think about:
At soon as you notice that your hearing is getting worse, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to identify if your hearing loss has been brought on by something that can be treated. For example, if you have an infection that you weren’t aware of.
Your doctor may refer you to see an audiologist, or you can ask for a referral or self-refer if you prefer. Your audiologist will carry out a hearing test to check if your hearing loss is significant. Your hearing specialist will make an assessment and if you do need hearing aids, they will help you to select which type would suit you best.
When you are considering which hearing aids to have, you should factor in the severity of your hearing loss, your budget, and any preferences you have for the overall look and cosmetic style.
Before you commit to buying hearing aids, it may be beneficial to you to ask about trialing them first. Many companies will offer a trial period on hearing aids, as they understand that it can be a big adjustment when you haven’t worn them before. A trial period will help you to decide if that style is the right one for you.
If your hearing loss is likely to get worse over the years, you may want to think about the future before buying hearing aids. To save on costs, you may want to think about buying a hearing aid that will be able to help improve most types of severity.
How many styles are available?
There are many different styles and types of hearing aids. With the huge variety in price, visibility, and features, there is a hearing aid out there for everyone who is living with hearing loss.
While some of the smaller and less visible styles are often most common, they may not necessarily have the features that you are looking for in your new hearing aid. However, they do provide a solution for anyone who is wanting to wear a hearing aid that is not noticeable.
Here is our guide to some types of hearing aids that are available:
Completely in the canal (CIC)
The CIC hearing aid also comes in a ‘mini’ form. The CIC is moulded to fit perfectly inside the ear canal, providing comfort while being discreet. The Completely in The Canal hearing aid is the smallest one available. While it is less visible than others, it doesn’t have many features like volume control. The CIC helps to improve mild to moderate hearing loss.
In the canal (ITC)
Similar to the CIC, the In the Canal hearing aid is custom moulded to fit the ear canal. While it is small, it manages to include features that don’t fit on the CIC hearing aid. The in the Canal (ITC) hearing aid can help to improve mild to moderate hearing loss.
In the ear (ITE)
The ITE hearing aid can be custom made to fit in two varying styles – full shell and half shell. Essentially, this means that the full shell will cover most of the outer ear, whilst the half shell only fills the lower section. Both of these styles improve mild to severe hearing loss.
Both styles have features that some of the small types cannot have, like volume control and has longer battery life. However, this style may pick up wind noise more than the smaller styles.
Behind the ear (BTE)
Despite being one of the biggest styles of hearing aids, the BTE hearing aid is one of the most commonly used. It is suitable for all ages and can help to improve mild to severe hearing loss. While it may pick up more wind than other styles, it has increased amplification than many other styles available.
This style hooks over and sits behind the ear. Connecting the earpiece and hearing aid together is a tube. The earpiece is a custom made earmould that sits perfectly in the ear canal.
Receiver in canal (RIC) and receiver in the ear (RITE)
Both the RIC and RITE style of hearing aid is similar to the style of behind-the-ear. Instead of a tube, this style has a tiny wire to connect the earpiece and hearing aid together. It is beneficial to those who want to wear a less noticeable hearing aid.
The open fit style of hearing aid allows the ear canal, as the name suggests, to be kept open. This allows all low-frequency sounds to flow into the ear as they naturally would. However, high-frequency sounds will then be processed and amplified through the open fit hearing aid, as normal.
The open fit style can help to improve mild to moderate hearing loss.
Hearing aid features
Many models now provide an array of additional features, such as:
- Rechargeable batteries
- Noise reduction
- Direct connection to a smartphone
- Directional microphones
Overall, when looking for your first hearing aid it is important to consider what one will meet your needs to enhance your hearing as best as it can. It can often take a while to get used to wearing hearing aids, but you should soon begin to adapt. While hearing aids will not get your hearing back to normal, it will significantly improve.