Dealing with hearing loss is never easy, as it can affect a person’s work, relationships, and overall quality of life. Fortunately, numerous people who live with this condition can use hearing aids to help them deal with the challenges of everyday life. These life-changing devices transmit sounds from the environment into the user’s ear, adjusting and fine-tuning them for enhanced clarity.
Hearing aids first appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, and there have been countless technological advances since then. Nowadays, they are outfitted with massive improvements in design and functionality. These devices come in a variety of types that can suit various needs.
Hearing aids generally fall under two main categories: behind-the-ear and in-the-ear styles. Each can be divided into separate categories as well. The model you choose should match your needs, preferences, and lifestyle. With this, here are the different types of hearing aids to help you decide the best one for you:
Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aid Styles
Behind-the-ear (BTE) aids sit behind or on top of the outer ear. The tubes route the sound into the ear canal through earmolds or domes. These devices don’t block the entire ear canal opening, and they can help prevent earwax buildup.
1 – Behind-the-Ear with Earmold
BTE aids with earmolds are versatile and can handle any type of hearing loss. They usually hold more features and controls than other styles, with some models having wireless connectivity and other advanced technologies.
Children can especially benefit from this type because these devices allow for reprogramming. Furthermore, the earmolds are replaceable and can be adjusted as the child grows. The drawbacks to this style are that they’re highly visible, and the earmolds may pose an issue for those who wear eyeglasses.
2 – Receiver-in-the-Ear (RITE) or Receiver-in-the-Canal (RIC)
RITE or RIC hearing aids have an open-fit style in which the speaker is built into an insertable dome. The microphone and processors sit behind the ear, while the receiver will be within the ear canal. They also can come with wireless connectivity and other advanced features. Although the speaker is more susceptible to moisture damage, it can be replaced separately.
In-the-Ear Hearing Aid Styles
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids sit in the ear canal. They’re typically custom-fit and are more discreet than BTE styles.
1 – In-the-Canal (ITC)
In-the-canal hearing aids are comfortable and easy to use for a wide range of hearing problems. Their compact size allows them to be discreet while hosting additional functions like directional microphones or volume controls. However, it can also pose problems with wireless connectivity.
2 – Invisible-in-the-Canal (IIC)
Invisible-in-the-canal hearing aids are virtually invisible, much like their names imply. These are the smallest ones available in the market, and wearers must place the devices deep within their ears. Removing them requires pulling a string.
IIC styles are an excellent choice for people with mild or moderate hearing loss. They typically don’t come with manual controls but can include wireless connectivity. Another caveat is that the small size can be a problem for those who have dexterity issues.
3 – Low-Profile
Low-profile hearing aids are larger in-ear devices. Their size allows them to have directional microphones and manual controls, and they’re also easier for those who have dexterity issues. However, they’re less discreet than ITC and IIC styles.
Contact a Hearing Specialist in Massachusetts
There are numerous hearing aid options available in the market today, catering to different needs, preferences, and lifestyles. Choosing the best one for your needs requires careful consideration and the help of experts.
If you’re looking for a hearing specialist in Massachusetts, Hear More Associates has you covered. We provide quality, specialized care for patients throughout Greater Boston, Lexington, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Get in touch with us today!