Millions of Americans are diagnosed with hearing loss, and hearing aids are the most common, if not best, option to help correct hearing loss. Aside from correcting hearing loss, hearing aids can help wearers enjoy a better quality of life.
In this article, we will feature different types and styles of hearing aids that will suit specific hearing needs, preference and lifestyle.
First things first – what is a hearing aid? Hearing aids are tiny, electronic devices specially designed to address different types and levels of hearing loss.
ALL ABOUT HEARING AIDS TECHNOLOGY
Nowadays, most hearing aids are already equipped with wireless technology and can be readily-used with telecoils.
Telecoils enhance hearing in public settings, such as airports, terminals, churches and theaters.
Wireless technology allows two hearing devices to communicate with each other and harmoniously operate together as one complete hearing system. With wireless technology, hearing aids can easily connect to external sources, mainly bluetooth.
Top hearing aid brands are also producing hearing aid apps that give users customization control over their hearing aids.
Fitting Hearing Aids
Once you have already narrowed down your choices, you will need to discuss various factors to proceed with hearing aid fitting.
Choosing the best hearing aids not only means getting the right fit – you will also need to consider the type and severity of hearing loss, cosmetic preferences, budget, lifestyle demands and other relevant concerns.
What’s good with hearing aids is that they can be personalized, which means that it can be customized to tailor-fit a user’s unique hearing needs. No two hearing aids are alike – even the same brand or model will have some differences once the audiologist adjusts it to suit a person’s hearing loss.
Maintaining and Cleaning Hearing Aids
Before you bring your hearing aids home, an audiologist will give you some instructions on how to keep your hearing aids clean and at optimal condition.
PA Center for Hearing and balance offers hearing aid cleaning services, but it would also be great if you, as an owner of a hearing aid, learn the ropes on proper daily maintenance and cleaning to safeguard your INVESTMENT.
In case you notice that your hearing aid is not working as it normally does (device won’t turn on, volume won’t budge, whistling sounds, etc), contact your hearing aid provider immediately.
STYLES OF HEARING AIDS
There are three known styles of hearing aids, differing in placement in/on the ear, amplification and size.
In-the-canal hearing aids fit the specific shape of the ear canal. Completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids are smaller.
Both of these hearing aids can help mild to moderately severe hearing loss. This style is not recommended for children or adults who may have issues with small devices.
Invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aids are nearly-invisible and perfect for individuals who want to wear hearing aids discreetly
In-the-ear (ite) hearing aids are designed to fit the outer ear. It comes with a hard, plastic case that houses all the electronics. This design is not recommended for children whose ears are still growing.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are designed to fit the outer ear. It comes with a hard, plastic case that houses all the electronics. This design is not recommended for children whose ears are still growing.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids have a plastic ear mold that is designed to fit in the outer ear to direct sounds to the ear.
A mini-BTE, on the other hand, fits entirely behind the ear and has a narrow tube that goes into the ear canal. The tube helps prevent earwax from building up and at the same time ensuring that a wearer can hear his/her own voice clearly.
Receiver-in-canal (ric) and receiver-in-the-ear (rite) hearing aids both have bte components that connect to a receiver in the ear. Users can hear low-frequency sounds naturally with these types of hearing aids. Meanwhile, high frequency sounds can be amplified through ric or rite hearing aids.
Types Of Hearing Aids
Analog Hearing Aids
Digital hearing aids
Work by converting sound waves into numerical codes (somewhat like computer codes) before amplifying them. The process is much more tricky, because the code includes information about the pitch/volume of a sound, along with its direction.
Digital hearing aids make it easier for a user to adjust the sound depending on different listening situations – in a restaurant, a stadium, a quiet room, etc. Most digital hearing aids can adjust automatically.
As expected, digital hearing aids cost more than analog hearing aids. But the price difference is super worth it – the results are much better, and the size is smaller and more discreet.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Hearing aids are tiny, electronic devices specially designed to address different types and levels of hearing loss.
Digital hearing aids have at least one microphone to pick up sound, a speaker that sends signals to the ears, a battery for power, and a computer chip to amplify and process sounds. The more sophisticated the model, the more features available, such as rechargeable batteries or direct connection to smart devices.
How do hearing aids help with hearing loss?
Hearing aids amplify the sounds going into the ears. These devices are the most prescribed solutions for people with sensorineural hearing loss.
In sensorineural hearing loss, tiny hair cells inside the inner ear are damaged, bent or broken. With the presence of hearing aids, the remaining healthy inner ear hair cells pick up sounds delivered by the hearing aid and them to the brain as neural signals.
For individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss, standard hearing aids are ideal. Meanwhile, POWER hearing aids are prescribed for people dealing with severe to profound hearing loss.
Hearing aids can be grouped in two – in-the-ear (ITE) styles and behind-the-ear (BTE) styles.
There are LITERALLY so many options available when it comes to hearing aids. When it comes to hearing aid sizes, it may range from being virtually invisible up to filling the entire bowl of you ear (and sometimes more).
Discussing things over with a hearing healthcare professional will be a BIG help in the hearing aid selection stage. It would also help if you already have a background of the basic parts of a hearing aid so you won’t be doe-eyed when you visit an audiology clinic. In short, you can easily relate to what an audiologist is saying.
There are five major hearing aid manufacturers in the market today that offer the LATEST hearing aid technology. These companies invest heavily on research and development to continue innovating their devices to match different hearing needs of people. Hearing aid manufacturers also make an effort to offer different levels of hearing aids to match the users’ budget.
Our audiologists at PA Center for Hearing and Balance are well-versed with different brands and their hearing aids. We also have the needed supplies and software to provide the best listening experience no matter what brand of hearing aids you choose.
Choosing the best hearing aids will be a breeze with audiologists at PA Center for Hearing and Balance. We will discuss your hearing test results, hearing loss needs, budget and lifestyle so we can give you the most appropriate brand that would work best for you.
This is one of the most common expectations when it comes to hearing aids. If you think that wearing hearing aids will magically restore hearing in an instant, you’d better think again.
Hearing aids will help a user enjoy better hearing BUT it may take some time to get used to. Audiologists will carry out an initial fitting to fine-tune the features and adjust levels to make sure that the wearer will get the most out of the hearing aid technologies.
When getting new hearing aids, think of it as breaking in a new pair of shoes – give it an adjustment period, needing some time to get used to. This concept also applies even for a person who has been wearing hearing aids for years.
Wear your hearing aids according to your audiologist’s instructions and recommendations. Keep an open line of communication with them and inform them of any challenges you may encounter along the way.
Hearing aids are an investment. Since they work like tiny computers for the ears, there lies powerful and sophisticated technology inside each device. That being said, hearing aid prices may range from $800 to more than $4,000 per device – depending on its technology. Features, customization and size also make an impact on the pricing of hearing aids.
Have you, at one time, typed in Google ‘where can I buy cheap hearing aids’? Well, you’re not alone – many people have entered our clinic and inquired about our cheapest, available hearing aids.
Many people want to explore low-cost hearing aids that can still offer high-quality features. Quite frankly, there are NUMEROUS low-cost hearing aids available in the market, you’d be overwhelmed to choose.
Some have a “too good to be true” price tag while some also have legit features at a significantly lower price. To help you distinguish what’s legit or not, we suggest that you visit a hearing healthcare professional.
At PA Center for Hearing and Balance, our audiologists can work around your budget – feel free to let us know how much your budget ceiling is so we can offer the appropriate hearing aids for you.
For this question, your hearing test results and an audiologist can answer for you. We understand that it may be difficult to accept at first that you may need hearing aids, BUT, living life without them may do more harm than good.
Living with hearing loss WITHOUT hearing aids may increase your risk for social and medical problems, including cognitive decline, isolation and depression. And we wouldn’t want that, would we?
Health hearing or better hearing starts with an appointment at a trusted hearing clinic. If you are in the Springfield, PA area, give PA Center for Hearing and Balance a visit. Our team of audiologists can help jumpstart your hearing care journey and change the way you see hearing loss.
Don’t wait for hearing loss to make a negative impact on your life. Take the wheel and protect your relationships, job and overall emotional well-being with hearing aids. Take our word for it, hearing aids can really make a DIFFERENCE.