Hearing loss can have a significant impact on the lives of those affected. And since there are around 30 million people affected by hearing loss in the US alone, that makes for a lot of people who could potentially be living less than their best lives. What’s more, this number only includes those whose hearing loss has been diagnosed. Who knows how many more people there are experiencing hearing loss who have yet to come forward? Not to mention those who aren’t even aware of their hearing loss.
Hearing loss can tend to sneak up on us very slowly over time, resulting in a gradual loss of frequencies over the years or even decades. Fortunately, a hearing instrument specialist (HIS) can help. Here we’ll look at the main hearing devices that they use to help people with hearing loss, as well as helping you decide which best fits your needs.
In the ear (ITE)
ITE hearing instruments are usually custom made and molded to fit the individual’s ear rather than sitting outside or behind it. They are very small and highly discrete making them the preferred option for wearers with mild to moderate hearing loss for whom discretion is the most important factor.
These usually have either full or half shell designs. The main disadvantage of these, however is that they tend to pick up a lot of noise from wind due to their location within the ear. Moreover, they tend to be less powerful than their behind-the-ear (BTE) counterparts and their smaller size means that they can only fit smaller batteries which need to be replaced or recharged more regularly. They also tend to be more expensive due to their custom molding and higher maintenance because of the greater likelihood of getting clogged with earwax or dirt.
In the canal (ITC)
ITC hearing instruments are a kind of ITE hearing aid that does not have a custom molded full or half shell design. Instead they fit either partially within or completely within (CIC) the ear canal. These offer superior discretion, especially when they sit completely within the ear canal. ITC hearing aids can barely be seen from the side when worn while CIC hearing aids are completely invisible.
Behind the ear (BTE)
BTE hearing aids have a receiver that sits within the ear canal, loops over the ear and connects to a discrete device which sits behind the ear. Over the years the units themselves have grown smaller and more discrete despite housing powerful technology that makes them appropriate for use even by those with severe or profound hearing loss.
BTE hearing instruments don’t just offer greater amplification, they also offer a greater range of choice. They are suitable for virtually all types of hearing loss as well as fitting well with a wide range of lifestyles and budgets. While they may be slightly less discrete than ITE or ITC hearing instruments they usually more than make up for it in terms of their performance, battery life and versatility.
Assistive listening devices (ALDs)
When you experience hearing loss it’s very common to lose track of how loud you’re playing your TV or radio and this can create friction between you and your neighbors. Moreover, in the smartphone age, hearing aid users can experience frustration when they want to listen to media from their devices, swapping out their hearing aids for headphones which are not calibrated to their hearing needs. Even high-end headphones might not give those with hearing loss an optimal listening experience.
The good news, however, is that a HIS can recommend a wide range of ALDs which can connect to a wide range of household devices including televisions, radios and smartphones and tablets. These can give users a listening experience that is better calibrated to their unique needs without the need to create a nuisance for the neighbors.
Which one is right for you?
It’s a matter of knowing your needs!
With so many solutions available, it can be difficult to decide which is the best fit for you. It all depends on your personal needs and priorities. Do you value discretion above all or do you need powerful performance. Do you need fantastic connectivity with your devices or is it more important to get a hearing instrument that will last for longer without the need to charge or replace batteries?
Fortunately, this is not a decision that you have to make alone.
How we can help
At Beck Hearing Aid Center, our team of skilled and experienced Hearing Instrument Specialists can help you by getting to know your needs and showing you the options available to ensure that you make an informed choice. If you’re curious about how a hearing instrument could help change your life, call us today at (519) 438-0492.