Understanding Hearing Aid Options
With a variety of hearing aids on the market today, finding the highest quality device is all about knowledge. Components tend to be similar but with minor differences between models. It is the features, styles, and types that really make a difference in the process. At Keystone Audiology, we understand it’s not about finding the best hearing aid; it’s about finding the best hearing aid for you.
Hearing aid styles
While there are a variety of hearing aid options on the market today, the first step when narrowing down your search is by determining what style is the best for you. Our Audiologists will take into consideration many factors, including your hearing loss, dexterity or vision restrictions, and lifestyle when selecting the appropriate style for you.
- Behind the ear (BTE): BTE hearing aids use plastic shells and earmolds to custom fit to your ear. The main components of BTE hearing aids are housed in the case and worn behind the ear. While these hearing aids are generally the most visible of the styles, they are available in a variety of colors, from skin tone to bolder shades, allowing you to decide what is right for you. BTE hearing aids are ideal for younger children or individuals with dexterity issues as the pieces are larger than other styles, making them desirable for people with mild-to-severe hearing loss.
- In the ear (ITE): ITE hearing aids are composed of a small shell that houses all the parts of the device. The shell then sits on the outer part of the ear, allowing more discreteness than some BTE models, but also providing a larger case than other devices that rest inside the ear. ITE hearing aids are also recommended for individuals with mild-to-severe hearing loss.
- Receiver in the canal (RIC): The RIC hearing aid is an open-fit device that is barely visible when wearing because the speaker sits directly in the canal. The color of the model will determine just how visible it is; with the included wire being lightweight enough that it doesn’t compromise your overall look. This type of hearing aid is recommended for individuals with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
- In the canal (ITC): ITC hearing aids are custom made for you to fit into the ear canal. These devices are worn in the canal, but are not completely invisible, as a small piece of the hearing aid remains on the outside of the ear canal. The pieces of the hearing aid are contained in the tiny case that sits in your ear canal, offering some listening and aesthetic advantages. ITC hearing aids are generally suggested for people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
- Completely in canal (CIC): CIC hearing aids are often deemed the most discreet devices of the bunch. Similar to ITC hearing aids, CIC devices are custom made to fit directly in the ear canal, with only a small plastic piece resting on the outside of the ear to allow for insertion and removal. These hearing aids offer not only the illusion of invisibility, but also a natural listening experience due to their location in your ear. These devices can be difficult for individuals with dexterity issues because of their size and are ideal for people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
Hearing aid features to consider
Once you and your audiologist have selected the proper hearing aid style, it’s time to learn about the different technology and feature options available to you. Here are some hearing aid features to consider as you continue your pursuit of the right device:
- Noise reduction: Even basic noise reduction can make a difference in making out simple sounds in crowded situations.
- Wind noise reduction: Many people in our area enjoy outdoor activities such as golfing and sailing. In the past, wind has been a big issue for these patients wearing hearing aids. Technology has now advanced to have sophisticated wind noise reduction for these types of activities. If this is something that is important to you, a hearing aid with wind noise reduction should be selected.
- Directional microphones: This feature is incredibly sought after when it comes to hearing aids. Directional microphones allow you to switch between programs to enable your hearing aid microphone to pick up all the sounds around you or just some.
- Rechargeable: If you struggle to handle batteries or keep them in stock, a rechargeable hearing aid may be the right feature for you. Rechargeable hearing aids allow you to simply plug and charge your hearing aids rather than changing batteries.
- Wireless connectivity: Bluetooth support has grown, and has even found its way into kitchen appliances. A hearing aid with wireless connectivity can interface with devices that emit sound. This includes mobile phones, televisions, computers, stereos and more.
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Hearing Aid Products and Accessories by Manufacturer
Oticon was founded on a compassion for people — and a deep understanding of the role that hearing plays in living a richer and fuller life. People First is our promise to empower people to communicate freely, interact naturally and participate actively.
Phonak's goal is to improve the quality of life of people with hearing loss. Phonak is the innovative force in hearing acoustics. With our creative solutions, we strive to overcome technological limitations - so that all people are able to hear, understand and fully enjoy life's rich landscapes of sound.
Starkey Hearing Technologies is much more than the hearing aids we produce. We are in the business of connecting people and changing lives. We believe being able to hear the world and the people around us is as essential to the human experience as breathing.
Our Starkey Hearing Aids and Accessories
Selecting a hearing aid
While it’s an excellent idea to research and learn about hearing aids prior to speaking to your audiologist, it’s important to know you will not be making this decision alone! The doctors at Keystone Audiology are knowledgeable and well versed in helping you find the right hearing aid for your hearing loss and lifestyle. Are you ready to hear the world around you again? Call our office today and talk to one of our audiologists about the right hearing aid for you.