Hearing aids are mini instruments designed to amplify sound. Hearing aids collect sounds from the environment, amplify the sounds, and direct this amplified signal into the user’s ear. Following a completed audiologic evaluation, a hearing aid evaluation is necessary in order to select the hearing aids that are most appropriate for a given individual. For many reasons, a hearing aid for each ear provides superior benefit compared to one hearing aid.
There are two main decisions when the audiologist and patient decide on appropriate hearing aids. They are the style of the hearing aids, and the electronic components of the hearing aids. It is important to understand that these decisions are generally independent of one another; for example, a very small, completely in-the-canal hearing aid can have very basic electronics inside, or a behind-the-ear hearing aid could have the most sophisticated digital technology available. The style of the hearing aid does not indicate how sophisticated the electronics inside the hearing aid might be.
Despite their same basic function – amplifying sounds to help those with a hearing loss hear more clearly – all hearing aids are not alike. They come in a variety of sizes and styles and where they are placed or worn differs. Many are custom molded for a unique fit that delivers better sound quality. Optional features vary. Choosing a style depends upon several factors, including your degree of hearing loss, cosmetic preference, and lifestyle needs.
Hearing aid styles are named for where they fit on your ear. Styles include:
Completely In The Canal (CIC).
Custom molded to fit inside your ear canal, CIC hearing aids are virtually invisible. Their deep placement reduces the occlusion effect and limits feedback, and their tiny size requires less power to operate the device (but translates to batteries that don’t last as long). They are perfect for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss.
In The Canal (ITC).
This custom molded device sits in the ear canal, but not as deeply as a CIC device. They are unobtrusive and their slightly larger size enables features that don’t fit on CIC units, though these may be difficult to adjust due to their small size. ITC hearing aids may not fit in smaller ears. They are ideal for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Invisible In The Canal (IIC).
Similar to CIC instruments, IIC hearing aids are even smaller, and placed more deeply in the ear canal, making them invisible to others. They are custom molded and require less amplification while delivering a more natural sound quality, but are susceptible to earwax and their tiny parts may pose problems for those with poor manual dexterity. IIC units are appropriate for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Receiver In The Ear (RITE).
In the ear hearing aids are custom molded to fit inside the bowl-shaped portion (concha) of the outer ear. They are more visible to others and may be prone to feedback, but are easier to insert into the ear and they use larger batteries, which last longer and are easier to insert. RITE instruments contain optional features like volume control and wireless connectivity, and are helpful for individuals with mild to severe hearing loss.
Behind The Ear (BTE).
Behind-the-ear hearing aids hook over the top of your ear and sit behind the ear. Sounds are picked up and transmitted to an ear mold that fits inside your ear canal. BTE instruments are the largest and most visible type, but produce more amplification than other units and are not as prone to damage from moisture or earwax. They are suitable for all types of hearing loss and for people of all ages, including children.
Lyric devices are the first extended-wear hearing aids on the marketplace, designed to be worn for as long as four months at a time. They are implanted very deeply within the ear canal and are completely invisible. They do not need to be removed, and are safe for everyday activities such as exercising, showering, and sleeping. Sound quality is excellent, with minimal occlusion effect or feedback, and improved directionality. Lyric instruments are best for people with mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
Manufacturer’s We Work With
Lyric is the developer of extended-wear hearing products, which are designed to function continuously for several months inside the ear canal. The company’s advanced hearing devices will be fit by ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors, in partnership with associated audiologists. The company’s products are designed to provide alternative solutions for the growing population of hearing-impaired.
Currently, Lyric’s main product is the Lyric. It is the only invisible, extended wear hearing product that has been approved by the FDA. It has no batteries to charge. Due to its “extended wear” title, there is no need for daily inserting and removing. It provides excellent hearing benefits, which include increased high frequency amplification, optimal gain without distortion, better sound localization and reduced feedback.
Oticon was founded in 1904 by Hans Demant, whose wife suffered from hearing loss. He began importing hearing aids to Denmark and was determined to help her and others with hearing impairment. When Hans passed away in 1910, his son, William, took over Oticon. In the 1920s, William acquired exclusive distribution for Acousticon hearing aids. In 1946, the “Oticon TA” was the first Danish hearing aid produced.
Technological advances during the past twenty years have enabled Oticon to introduce several innovative products. MultiFocus was introduced in 1991 as the world’s first fully automatic hearing aid. DigiFocus was introduced in 1997 as the first digital ear-level hearing instrument, which won a European design prize. The next landmark was the introduction of Adapto in 2001. Syncro followed in 2004. Syncro incorporated Artificial Intelligence into a hearing aid and won the European Information Society Technology 1st Grand Prize. Since then, several additional outstanding hearing aid products have been introduced by Oticon within the past couple of years.
Tracing back to 1947, Phonak is a Swiss company that specializes in hearing aids, among other products for the hearing impaired. With the use of state-of-the-art technology, they produce solutions for both adults and children with hearing loss in a variety of listening environments. The ultimate goal at Phonak is to contribute to the quality of life of those with a hearing impairment.
Phonak also offers professionals, who work with hearing impaired people, a broad range of products and tools for increased speech understanding, easy and effective communication, and high client satisfaction.
Starkey Hearing Technologies is much more than the hearing aids. They are in the business of connecting people and changing lives. They believe being able to hear the world and the people around us is as essential to the human experience as breathing.
As a world leader in manufacturing and delivering advanced hearing solutions, their goal is to bring people together and make lives richer by empowering individuals to reach their full potential in life.
In 1967, William F. Austin founded their company with the simple premise, “Alone we can’t do much. Together, we can change the world.” They live that vision every day – and it’s why with every Starkey Hearing Technologies’ product purchased, they donate to the Starkey Hearing Foundation to help more people in need around the world receive the gift of hearing. To date they have given over 1 million hearing aids to people around the world.
ReSound provides excellent sound by offering innovative hearing solutions that combine original thinking and design with solid technology – all based on deep audiological insight and understanding of hearing aid users.
With roots that reach all the way back to 1943, ReSound has been responsible for a number of hearing industry firsts: WDRC (Wide Dynamic Range Compression) broke new ground for sound processing. DFS (Digital Feedback Suppression) was the first system to effectively eliminate howling and sound distortion.
The world’s first open-standard digital chip set a new standard for flexibility in programming. And the introduction of ReSound AIR signaled the creation of an entirely new type of hearing instrument: it provided more natural sound and did away with the discomfort associated with plugging the ear canal.
With corporate headquarters located in Denmark, Widex was founded in 1956 by the Tøpholm and Westermann families.
Widex is one of the world’s leading companies in digital hearing aid technology. Their hearing aids are sold in more than 90 markets around the world, with the majority exported from Denmark. Widex is committed to giving people with hearing loss a better quality of life. They honor this commitment through research, development and production of hearing aids as well as through ample information. This has made Widex one of the world leaders in digital hearing aid manufacturing.
Widex’s hearing aids help people with hearing loss to communicate better. They also put great emphasis on the area of children and young people with hearing loss, as early intervention is important for their language development.
It’s been a known fact for years that if you’re looking for digital hearing protection and custom molded earplugs that Electronic Shooters Protection (ESP America) is the company to choose. Since 1994, Electronic Shooters Protection has been serving hunters and shooters by providing custom molded earplugs to protect our customers hearing. The difference between your average hearing ear plugs and a set of quality digital hearing protection from ESP America is the fit. Our custom molded earplugs are a precise and comfortable fit, providing protection to your ears from damaging noises while amplifying the everyday sounds around you, because your hearing matters.