If you were recently told that you could benefit from hearing aids, you may be unaware of all the options you have to choose from. Your audiologist will work with you to help you to determine whether you have the right hearing aid style for you, but it’s important to know what’s out there so that you can make an informed decision. The type of hearing aids that you need is going to depend on several factors including:
- Level of hearing loss
- Your lifestyle needs
- Your budget
A lot of hearing aids aren’t just standard flesh colored to blend in: many come with different color choices and metallics that can complement your look.
Hearing aid styles: The basics
While there are a lot of hearing aid options out there, there are three basic types of hearing aid, including:
- In the ear (ITE): This particular type of hearing aid is inside the ear and are custom-fit to suit your ear structure. Impressions are taken of the ears by your audiologist, and they are available in a variety of colors to blend with your skin tone. ITE hearing aids are suitable for mild-to-moderately-severe hearing loss.
- Behind the ear (BTE): These sit right behind or on top of the outer ear. There is a thin tubing mechanism that guides the sound into the ear canal, and this is done through a custom-fit earmold. You can get styles that color match to hair or skin tone if you want it to blend in, or you can choose a metallic finish to be more personal to you. These devices are recommended for mild-to-profound hearing loss.
- In the canal (ITC): These are the smallest devices available and offer the most privacy. They rest inside the ear canal and offer a natural listening experience. They can be difficult for individuals with dexterity issues to handle. ITC hearing aids are ideal for individuals with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
How are these made?
When you sit down with your audiologist, they will be able to take you through your hearing aid options. They’ll be able to show you that all custom-made in the ear or behind the ear hearing aids are made with an ear impression. This takes up to 15 minutes to do and is pain-free for you, so you don’t have to panic about it hurting!
A foam dam is placed in the ear first so that none of the casting material gets into the eardrum and causes you other issues. A wax material is then poured into the ear and the outer structure, which is then left to harden. The wax structure and the dam are then removed, and your hearing aid bones are ready!
There are different features on certain hearing aids that mean you need to decide on the size of the hearing aids that you get. Larger sizes – no matter the style – can hold more in the way of buttons and circuitry. Most people choose smaller and more discreet hearing aids due to image issues, but there are those who love to show off the colors that they’ve chosen, too.
Some of the top features of hearing aids include:
- Noise reduction: Hearing aids equipped with noise reduction features work by lowering or elimination background sounds that could become confusing to weed out on your own. This feature makes it easier to communicate and partake in conversation in a busy environment.
- Bluetooth: With Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids, you’ll be able to connect wirelessly to other compatible technologies, such as your television, telephone or speakers. This allows you to adjust the volumes of these technologies for your hearing aids only, so no other person will hear the changes you make.
- Multisettings: With multisettings, you’ll be able to program your hearing aid to remember certain sound environments. This means rather than trying to adjust your volume while in a louder situation, you’ll simply switch between already-programmed settings. This is convenient for individuals who work in both quiet and noisier environments.
How to choose the best hearing aid for you
Speaking to your audiologist can help you to understand which hearing aid is the right one for you. There are so many features for hearing aids today that it makes sense to do your research and have your questions answered before you make any decisions.
Think about how your hearing aids will affect your day to day living as well as the right one to help with your hearing altogether. Speaking to your audiologist and booking an appointment to learn more about The Speech & Hearing Center at (423) 622-6900 is the best thing that you can do for your hearing.