Types of hearing aids

“What are the best hearing aids?” – this is a complicated question because a device packed with all the latest technology may not necessarily work for everyone.

With so many features and benefits to choose from, the question to ask yourself should be, “what are the best hearing aids for me?”

When you visit Freedom Hearing, your audiology professional will review your test results and discuss your lifestyle needs to determine the best type of hearing aids for you.

Popular hearing aid models

Hearing aids have come a long way as technology advances every year.  More advanced features are available, all while becoming increasingly smaller and discreet. There are so many designs, colours and styles to suit your personal preference and hearing needs.

Behind-the-ear (BTE)

Suitable for all types of hearing loss, the BTE is one of the most versatile hearing aid styles. BTEs are a lot slimmer than they used to be in the past. They also come in high power models to provide maximum amplification for more severe hearing losses. The hearing aid microphone sits behind the ear and the receiver is connected via a transparent tube that extends into the ear canal. Depending on the severity and configuration of hearing loss, most BTEs are fitted with an attachment such as a custom ear piece or a small tip (dome). Cleaning and care is relatively straightforward.

BTE behind the ear hearing aids

Behind-The-Ear (BTE) style hearing aid

 

Receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) 

RICs are smaller in design and provide comfort, discretion and natural sound quality.  Unlike traditional BTES, it utilises a wire (receiver) that extends from the case (housing) that sits behind the ear. A variety of case colours are available to match a hearing aid user’s skin or hair colour. One of the main advantages of the RIC model is they are available in rechargeable options.

RIC 312 receiver in canal hearing aids

Receiver-In-Canal hearing aid

 

Micro Receiver-In-Canal (micro RIC)

This is an even smaller version of the RIC and also our most popular hearing aid style.

Micro Receiver in Canal (micro RIC) hearing aid

micro Receiver-In-Canal (micro RIC) hearing aid

 

In-the-ear (ITE)

Fits directly into the ear and although this type of aid is more visible in the ear canal, it often has easy access controls such as a memory button or volume control. As ITEs are the biggest out of the custom aid variants, they can be very useful for individuals with vision and dexterity issues (ease of insertion and cleaning, can take a bigger battery). A factor to consider is that they may pick up more wind noise than smaller hearing aids.

In-the-canal (ITC)

Smaller than and ITE but can also include controls for memory and volume control that won’t fit on smaller hearing aids.

Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) 

Sit more deeply in the ear canal hence providing the most discretion. Good for mild to moderately severe hearing losses. Users should experience less problems with wind noise. One limitation is that these aids may not be suitable for individuals who have bendy or very narrow ear canals. CICs can also be more challenging for those with vision and dexterity issues particularly as the smaller batteries they take require more frequent changing.

In-The-Canal compared to Completely-In-Canal

In-The-Canal (ITC) compared to Completely-In-Canal (CIC)

All in-the-ear and in-the-canal hearing aids are custom-made; tailored to fit the contours of the user’s ear canal. Your clinician will make a silicone impression of your canal to ensure your hearing aid is a perfect fit.

 

What is a digital hearing aid?

In simple terms, all hearing aids operate the same way: they pick up noise, convert the sound into electrical impulses and then forward them to the ear. The way in which hearing aids process the signal depends on whether the device is analogue or digital.

When analogue hearing aids pick up noise, they reproduce and amplify the sound via a loudspeaker. Analogue hearing aids are unable to filter out or reduce noise.

Digital hearing aids convert noise into electronic information. They have the ability to reduce loud background noise and detect which major sounds should be amplified and transmitted. This is why digital hearing aids tend to deliver improved sound quality and enhanced speech comprehension.

Digital hearing aids can be adapted to individual needs and are typically smaller than analogue models.

 

Want are the best hearing aids for you?

Book a hearing test at your local Freedom Hearing clinic now and a friendly clinician will assess your hearing. They will consider your hearing requirements, lifestyle needs and budget to recommend the best type of hearing aids.

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