What Are the Different Types of Hearing Aids and How Do They Work?

Hearing loss can cause significant changes in the life of Canadians, whether it’s with their relationships or their emotional well-being. However, with all the modern advances in technology, hearing aids have been known to improve a person’s lifestyle and make a difference in their lives. This is especially true if you do the research and pick the hearing aid that works best for you.

Each hearing aid comes with its advantages and disadvantages. The type of hearing aid that will be ideal for you depends on several factors, such as; how severe your hearing loss is, how convenient it needs to be, your manual dexterity, and the appearance of the hearing aid.

Some people may not feel comfortable with how visible their hearing aid is, so this also comes into consideration for which hearing aid is right for you.

Here are all the different types of hearing aids, whom they are suited for, and how they work.

How do hearing aids help?

A hearing aid is an electronic device that functions by improving your hearing. It’s small in size so that it fits either behind or in your ear. It also increases the volume of sound through a microphone that picks up sounds in your surroundings, an amplifier, which increases the sounds, and a receiver, that sends the amplified sounds into your ear.

However, not everyone with hearing loss will find a hearing aid to be beneficial. These devices are generally for people with inner ear damage or issues with the nerve that links up the ear to the brain. This type of damage usually results from disease, medications, ageing, and loud noises.

If you’re a person who has hearing loss due to your ear canal, eardrum, or middle ear, then surgery or other medical interventions will be more effective. Not everyone may be open to those suggestions, so if you have an open ear canal and external ear that appears normal, a hearing aid doesn’t need to be ruled out.

For those who are born without an external ear or ear canal, they won’t be able to find any benefit from a hearing aid. However, you can use a different device that produces sound to the inner ear and then travels to the bone of their skull.

BTE Hearing Aids

BTE hearing aids are the traditional style that sits behind the earlobe. They function by the ear receiving sound through a small tube that runs from the external electronics to a custom mould placed in the ear canal. Many people use this type of hearing aid because it allows for more options. This is because it has batteries that last a long time, the amplification is quite effective, and feedback doesn’t occur very often.

The one disadvantage for some people is that they are more visible; however, some people don’t mind this. Also, if you have a lot of earwax buildup, this can cause issues with this hearing aid.

CIC Hearing Aids

CIC hearing aids are an excellent choice for many people because they appear nearly invisible, and only the removal wand is visible to others. You can even use this kind of hearing aid with your phone!

They generally don’t have feedback issues or sensitivity to the wind; however, their small size can pose some issues. They can be tricky to handle and need more battery replacements. If you struggle with manual dexterity, then this option may not work for you. They are best suited for mild hearing loss, and can also be irritating if you have wax buildup.

Invisible in the Canal Hearing Aids

IIC hearing aids offer complete invisibility, which makes it an attractive option for many people who are concerned about the appearance of the hearing aid. These types of devices are suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss.

As they sit deeper in the ear canal, they are entirely non-visible to other people. They also create a more natural sound because of the ear shape and have wind noise protection.

The primary issue that comes with IIC’s is that they can be uncomfortable and inconvenient to remove regularly.

In the Ear Hearing Aids

ITE hearing aids are comfortable and perform well. They are suited for individuals with hearing loss from all spectrums, whether it’s mild or severe. They are placed in the outer ear and are easy to adjust as well as handle. They also provide many other features, like wireless streaming and strong directional microphones.

Their major disadvantage is that they may look more prominent than BTE devices, but not be as effective as the larger BTE models.

In the Canal Hearing Aids

These types of hearing aids are all about comfort, with some invisibility, but are more focused on their excellent performance. They work for mild to moderate hearing loss; however, they are still relatively visible and are more challenging to handle than BTE or ITE aids.

Receiver in Canal or Ear Hearing Aids

RIC hearing devices offer good performance, ease of use, and are comfortable. They are ideal for mild to moderate hearing loss and are advantageous due to their easy insertion and handling.

Due to the tiny speaker wire inside the ear canal, the plugged up feeling is eliminated, and distortion is reduced. These devices are placed behind the ear. The one major disadvantage is that RIC devices perform poorly in low frequencies.

No matter what degree of hearing loss you experience, there are many options for hearing aids out there that will suit any person. Determine what is most important to you when it comes to a device, do your research, and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a hearing aid that works for you.

If you would like to learn more about the different types of hearing aids and how they work, call Living Sounds Hearing Centre at 1-800-232-7289 or contact us here.