Hearing aids have improved greatly with the advent of digital technology. If you’re picturing big and bulky devices with questionable sound quality, you’ll be pleased to learn today’s instruments are smaller, more comfortable and provide sound that is more natural. They are available in a variety of sizes and styles, so finding one that appeals to your lifestyle needs and cosmetic preferences should be easy.
Here are the types available:
A RIC is a small hearing aid that sits behind the ear (consisting of microphones and computer chip) and an earbud that sits in the ear (that encases the speaker). Sound travels from the hearing aid to the speaker via a thin receiver wire. This thin wire makes this hearing aid more discreet but can still be powerful enough to accommodate nearly any hearing loss.
A BTE is a larger hearing aid that sits behind the ear that attaches to a tube that funnels sound to an earmold that sits in the ear. Though more visible than other styles, a BTE is typically better for those with dexterity concerns and can be simpler to use. It also is commonly used for children as it is durable, and the earmold can easily be remade to accommodate a growing ear. A BTE is sometimes necessary for more severe hearing losses and can provide quite a bit of sound if needed.
This hearing aid is placed in the ear canal and is the smallest available. It takes advantage of the ear’s natural ability to collect sound, and its discreet size makes the device virtually invisible to others.
The trade-off is a shorter battery life, and it may prove difficult to adjust for those with poor manual dexterity. This is a good choice for mild to moderate hearing loss.
This style is also designed to fit in the ear canal, but not as deeply as a CIC device, resting securely in the lower portion instead. It’s a little larger, making it easier to insert and remove and extending the battery life.
Best for patients with mild to moderate hearing loss.
This hearing aid is designed to fill the outer portion of the ear, and is larger than those worn in the ear canals. It is less discreet, but the size allows for more features and makes the unit easier to adjust.
A bigger battery translates to longer life and means those with severe or profound hearing loss can benefit from this style.
Call Willamette ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery at (503) 581-1567 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
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