Hearing aids are essential devices for people with hearing loss, as they provide different amplification levels to enhance sound quality and speech comprehension. But it can be overwhelming to pick the right one with so many types of hearing aid products on the market.
Whether you’re a new hearing aid user or want to upgrade to a more advanced device, this blog post will briefly discuss the types available and how to choose the best hearing aid products that suit your hearing needs and lifestyle.
Types of Hearing Aid Products
Hearing aids come in different shapes, styles, and types, making it hard to find one that meets your needs and preferences. Below are the types of hearing aid products you should know:
1. In-the-Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids
ITE hearing aids are custom-made to fit entirely in your ear canal. They are suitable for individuals with mild to severe hearing loss. These hearing aids are easy to install, remove, and manage. However, their design limits their ability to host advanced features.
2. Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
BTE hearing aids contain most electronic components in a small case that fits behind the user’s ear. These aid types work best for people with mild to profound hearing loss. They are also ideal for children as their design allows them to change the ear mold as the child’s ear grows.
3. Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) Hearing Aids
These are similar to BTE hearing aids, but the receiver is in the ear canal instead of the case behind the ear. The design allows clearer and more natural sound because it eliminates the sound distortion that may occur due to being amplified in the ear canal.
4. Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC) Hearing Aids
CIC hearing aids are a type of ITE hearing aids that custom-fit entirely into your ear canal. They are compatible with mild to moderate hearing loss. These types of aids are the most discreet ones and are barely visible.
5. In-The-Canal (ITC) Hearing Aids
ITC hearing aids are similar to CIC hearing aids but only sit at the bottom of the outer ear canal. They are ideal for mild to moderate hearing loss.
6. Invisible-in-Canal (IIC) Hearing Aids
IIC hearing aids are extremely small and custom-fit into the inner ear canal. They suit people with mild to moderate hearing loss and offer near invisibility when worn.
How to Choose a Hearing Aid?
When looking for a hearing aid, consider the following factors:
- Level of Hearing Loss. Different types of hearing aids are designed for varying levels of hearing loss, so consider your audiogram results before selecting a device. This will be done when you visit a hearing evaluation center where an audiologist will assess your hearing and provide advice on the best device for you. For minor hearing loss, ITE and ITC hearing aids may be sufficient, while BTE hearing aids may be more appropriate for those with moderate to profound hearing loss.
- Style and Comfort. All hearing aids are designed to provide comfort and convenience when worn. Consider the size and shape that would suit your current circumstances, such as wearing glasses or earrings or having a small ear canal.
- Lifestyle Needs. Consider your lifestyle needs when selecting a hearing aid. For example, if you are active in sports or work in a noisy environment, you may want to consider BTE or RIC hearing aids due to their water-resistance feature.
- Budget. Hearing aids can be expensive, so you must consider your purchasing budget. Look for the best deal and compare prices from different vendors before committing to a purchase. In Canada, the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) provides hearing aid assistance to eligible First Nations individuals. Additionally, check your insurance plans that might give partial or full reimbursement for your device.
- Technology Features. Different hearing aid products offer advanced technology features designed to improve sound quality and speech comprehension. For instance, some hearing aids have directional microphones, Bluetooth streaming, and noise-reduction features. These are especially helpful for people with severe hearing impairment because they allow a better hearing experience.
- Seek Professional Advice. When selecting a suitable hearing aid product, asking for professional advice from an audiologist or hearing health specialist, like NewLife Hearing health centre is always recommended. They are knowledgeable and experienced in finding the best hearing aid that complements your lifestyle needs and hearing loss level.