Tens of millions of Americans suffer from hearing loss. Many of these individuals turn to hearing aids to restore all or part of their hearing. Doing so improves their quality of life. However, they must find the right hearing aid for their needs.
As there is a variety of hearing aid styles offered today, a person might be confused as to which will best meet their needs. What should they know when making this choice?
How Hearing Aids Work
All hearing aids work in much the same way. They pull sounds from the environment and amplify them. Most styles today are digital, and all devices require a battery to operate. Some units come with batteries that must be replaced, but other devices feature rechargeable batteries.
A small microphone in the unit pulls the sounds from the environment. A computer chip in the device turns this sound into digital code. It then analyzes the sound and adjusts it so the wearer can hear what is being said. When doing so, it determines the extent of the wearer’s hearing loss, their listening needs, and sounds from around the wearer. It then converts the amplified signals into sound waves before delivering them to the ears.
Hearing Aid Styles
Hearing aids come in different styles today. A person needs to know the options to ensure they find the right device for their needs.
Behind-the-ear hearing aids help most people with hearing loss. They benefit individuals with severe hearing loss, and a hearing specialist can fit the patient with ear tips or custom molds. The device can then be updated as the person’s hearing loss deteriorates. However, these devices remain visible when in use.
Receiver-in-canal hearing aids remain among the most popular today. They can provide more volume when the wearer is fitted with a custom mold, and rechargeable options are offered. However, some people find them difficult to insert in the ear canal, and some units don’t allow for volume adjustments.
In-the-ear hearing aids are ideal for those with mild to severe hearing loss. They fit in the outer portion of the ear and are easy to adjust. These devices are visible to others, and some people find them uncomfortable.
In-the-canal devices are designed to sit in the wearer’s ear canal, as the name suggests. Some people find them easier to install than behind-the-ear and receiver-in-canal styles. However, there is less room for the components.
Completely-in-canal devices sit inside the ear canal, and people love their small size. They are less visible to others. However, the batteries are extremely small, which can make it difficult for the owner to change them, and the units require regular maintenance and repairs.
Invisible-in-canal units are the smallest hearing aids offered today. They remain practically invisible and work with other devices that are inserted in the ear.
Finally, individuals may choose an extended-wear hearing aid that is placed deep in the ear canal by a hearing specialist. It remains in place for up to four months. People find this style to be the most comfortable, but it must be replaced when the battery dies.
Work with a hearing specialist to find the right device, as what works for one person won’t be appropriate for another. Thanks to advances in technology, most people can hear clearly once again with the help of a hearing aid. It’s just a matter of finding the right one.