Hearing Aids 101: Definition & Types

Hearing Aids 101: Definition & Types

Hearing aids are electronic acoustic devices placed in or behind the ear to amplify sound for the person wearing them. They are specifically meant for people who experience hearing loss, but still have some level of hearing left in their ears. Although there is still a stigma surrounding their use, today’s aids are lighter, smaller, and even come in fashion conscious jeweled designs. Today’s digital hearing aids are much neater and work much better than older analogue versions. Modern versions even include in-built FM listening systems operating Bluetooth connectivity.

Types of hearing aids

Behind the ear aids (BTE)

These consist of a case placed behind the ear and an earmould that connects to this case and fits in your ear. These are the most common type of aids around as they are comfortable and cosmetically appealing for many users. They are also highly durable since all the electronic components are placed outside the ear, reducing the chances of damage from earwax and moisture.

In the ear aids (ITE)

These fit inside the ear but are still often visible when standing close to someone. The aids are custom made to fit your ear since size of the outer ear bowl, in which they are placed, varies from person to person. A problem with this type of aid is the leaking of sound through the device that might cause an uncomfortable whistling sound. They are however not recommended for growing children as they’ll have to be constantly replaced unlike the BTE earmould.

Invisible in canal hearing aids (IIC)

This type of hearing aid is completely invisible as it fits deep inside the ear canal. The custom made devices collect sound more naturally by making use of the shape of the ear canal as a person with normal hearing would. New models also allow for volume regulation or receiving of voice calls via mobile phone or other electronic devices.

Extended wear hearing aids

These can be worn for up to 3 months without removal. They are placed right next to the eardrum, thus reducing noise and resulting in improved high frequency sound and can be worn when showering or exercising making, them a favorite among sportspeople or those who dislike the visibility of BTE or ITC hearing aids. Disadvantages include discomfort when placing the device and inability to go underwater with the aid on.

Disposable hearing aids

These aids have a non-replaceable battery and are discarded once the power runs out. They remove the task of battery replacement or constant adjustment and cleaning associated with traditional hearing aids.
It is likely that your physician will fit you with an aid that corresponds with your level of hearing loss. They should also show you how to clean and maintain your device. A clean device will last longer and serve you better. You should be sure to book an appointment 9 weeks after your aid is fitted to give feedback on how your aid works for you, or to make any necessary changes or improvements to the ear mold or hearing aid.

 

About the Authot

The Hearing Centre is your one-stop centre for complete hearing aids and hearing conservation services. Ernest has been fitting hearing devices since 2004.

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