Ideal Types of Hearing Aids for Our Ears
Hearing aids are tools that enhance our hearing capacity. These specialised medical devices are available depending on the type of hearing loss. Several types of hearing aids exist in the market. Here are some ways to choose the ideal types of this assistive device that will help in profound hearing loss, mild to severe hearing loss, moderate hearing loss, etc. Select a hearing aid according to your preference, whether entirely in the canal, ear canal, behind the ear, etc.
How do Hearing Aids Work?
Although hearing aids will not restore your average hearing capacity, they will amplify sounds. All these assistive device work on the same principle of absorbing and amplifying sounds from the environment.
The basic parts of a digital hearing aid include the following:
- Small size microphones that pick up sounds from the surroundings.
- An amplifier cum computer chip converts the mic’s picked-up sounds into a digital code.
- The computer chip is programmed to modify the sound’s volume and adjusts it according to the level you need.
- These amplified sound waves are then carried to the ears with the help of the receivers.
- Battery to power the hearing aid. The battery may be either rechargeable, or it may be the conventional type.
Different Hearing Aid Types
Although most digital hearing aids have different sizes, costs, and types depending upon how they are placed during usage. They also differ according to the hearing loss type, whether mild to moderate hearing loss, profound hearing loss, or severe hearing loss. The size of the typical hearing aid has decreased considerably over the last few years. This is because manufacturers try to improve the devices’ designs, cost, and efficiency.
Some types of these assistive gadgets are listed below:
1. In the canal hearing aids
Also called ITC (In The Canal) deaf aids, these devices are specially moulded to partially fit the inner ear canal. The ITC listening device can considerably improve people with mild to moderate hearing problems. The advantage of these devices is that they are less visible than the larger types. The disadvantage is that they may gather earwax over prolonged usage causing clogging problems to the user.
2. In the ear hearing aids
These are also called ITE (In The Ear) hearing aids and are manufactured in two varieties. Full-shell ITE deaf aids are fitted into the entire bowl-shaped area of the outer ear. Half-shell ITE listening devices are those that will fill up the lower half of the outer ear. They are suitable for people with mild to severe hearing loss. Some of these assistive devices are available with two microphones (directional) for improved hearing quality. They cut out the background noise for better clarity. They include better handling and larger battery sizes for longer usage timings. Also, they have volume-controlling features that are unavailable in the other varieties.
The disadvantage of ITE hearng aids is that they can absorb all the wind sounds from the environment. Due to this, the clarity of the spoken words decreases. Also, these devices are more visible from the outside due to their size.
3. Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids
These CIC hearing aids are fitted right inside the ear canal. It can upgrade mild to moderate hearing loss considerably. The biggest advantage of this device is that they do not absorb any wind noises from the surrounding environment. Also, they are not visible from the outside and can be thus worn efficiently. The disadvantage of this hearing aid is that they use small batteries running out of charge quickly. Also, their small size does not have some practical features, such as volume control. A directional microphone may also not be provided in these devices. They may also get clogged up with ear wax due to their position within the ear.
4. Behind the ear hearing aid (BTE)
This type of hearing aid is fixed behind the ear by looping it over the ear and resting it conveniently. It has a tube that attaches the hearing aid and the ear mould fitted inside the ear canal. The ear mould is customised according to the size of the canal. The hearing aid can be used by people with any degree of hearing loss, whether mild, moderate, or profound hearing loss. Also, it is suitable for people of any age, whether old or young. The advantage of this hearing aid includes the availability of directional microphones and, thus, better sound amplification. It is also the largest variety of hearing aid. Therefore, easier to handle and take care of. With technological advances, these gadgets are now available with a rechargeable battery and smaller size options that are barely visible. The disadvantage is that these devices may absorb more wind noise than the other varieties available.
5. Open-fit hearing aids
This hearing aid is a slight variation of the BTE varieties in that a receiver within the ear hearing aid is also provided. The receiver is present in the ear canal, and a dome is open. The ear canal is open so that low-frequency sounds can make their way into the ear. On the other hand, high-frequency sounds are amplified to only a required degree. These gadgets are helpful for mild hearing loss of the high-frequency type. The advantage is that since the ear canal is kept open, the person’s voice is better heard.
6. Reciever in the ear (RICE) hearing aids
These assistive devices have a speaker facility that is present within the ear canal. The speaker (receiver) connects to the receiver cover that sits behind the ear with a small plastic tube. These are also known as receiver in the canal (RIC) deaf aids. This device’s advantage is that it is hardly visible from behind the ear. Also, there are directional microphones for superior sound amplification and manual control features. If needed, rechargeable batteries are also available.
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Although variations are available in types of assistive hearing gadgets, it is essential to recognise the extent of hearing loss and select an authentic hearing aid. Trying out the different kinds in various environments is another tip for choosing the best hearing aid. Adjusting to the hearing aid is also essential as it takes a while to learn the usage process.
Receiver in canal (RIC) or receiver in the ear (RICE) types are one of the best hearing devices available.
Hearing aids do not damage the ear unless they are set up incorrectly.
There are different hearing aids, such as rechargeable battery availability, volume controlling features, directional microphone features, etc.
The major disadvantage of this gadget is that they also pick up background noise and spoken words. Also, most varieties collect ear wax over time if not cleaned regularly.
Behind the ear hearing aid varieties are superior as the volume control may be adjusted as needed, are easier to handle, more practical, and have longer battery life.