When we first see a lot of our patients, one of the first questions they ask is: What is the hearing aid going to look like? Are other people going to see it? How big is it?
Thankfully, great improvements have been made in the design of hearing aids to keep them looking discrete and near invisible at times. However, not every style is right for every person. Some factors that can affect which hearing aid is right for you include the size/shape of your ear, the amount of hearing loss present, your vision, your dexterity, what extra features you would like, and your personal preference.
Our most important goal when choosing a hearing aid is to find something that will help you hear better, but the style of a hearing aid can play a role in how the hearing aid sounds too! The acoustics of the hearing aid and the acoustics of your ear all play a role in how well you will hear, especially when you get into a noisy environment. Thankfully, audiologists have extensive training in recognizing all of the factors to find the best fit for you in both sound quality and appearance.
This month we, the audiologists at The Hearing Center, wanted to walk you through all of your options and explain why, though we like every style, one may be better for you.
This style of hearing aid has all of the electronics in a case that sits behind your ear, similar to where glasses would rest. A custom earpiece is attached to deliver the sound into your ear. This style of hearing aid allows the most power for those patients who need it. It is also very durable and can pair with classroom systems, which makes it a popular choice for children with hearing loss. Rechargeability is an exciting feature available in this style.
The most popular style of hearing aid is the RIC hearing aid. While most of the electronics are stored in a case behind the ear, there is a slim wire connected to a speaker which sits in the ear. This style is typically very comfortable because it leaves the ear feeling very open, not plugged. Many patients even say they forget they’re wearing them! Another reason this style is so popular is because of the rechargeable feature which removes the hassle of batteries. Recent innovations have been made to also allow this style of hearing aid to connect with any Bluetooth device, such as your phone, TV, computer, etc.
A custom-made hearing aid that fits perfectly into your ear is another option. This style is great for those with dexterity problems, because it is only one piece that is easy to put in your ear. The ITE hearing aid comes in varying sizes. The smaller sizes are less visible because they sit deeper in the ear. However, your audiologist may recommend increasing the size to give you more power from the hearing aid or to fit a larger battery into the hearing aid. The larger batteries will last the longest (10-12 days) vs the smaller batteries which may only last 3-5 days.
Lyric is a completely different type of hearing aid which is worn continuously (24/7) for several weeks. It is totally invisible and is placed deep in the ear by a trained audiologist. This style requires regular appointments to replace the device, but is an excellent option for you if you want something that provides hassle-free hearing wherever you go. Some medical restrictions do apply to this style, however, and you should consult your audiologists to see if you are a good candidate.
Schedule a hearing aid consultation with The Hearing Center to learn more today!