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:
RIC hearing aids are the most popular style of hearing aid and consist of a tiny housing containing all electronics except the receiver, which is positioned behind the ear. A thin wire connects the housing to the receiver.
It’s a small and discreet unit that is powerful enough to treat mild to severe hearing loss.
A BTE device is curved to match the contour of the ear and rests directly behind the ear. The housing, which contains all the electronics, is encased in plastic and connects to the ear canal with a thin, clear tube or ear mold.
Though more visible than other styles, the BTE is simple to use, making it a popular choice for children. It’s powerful enough for all types of hearing loss.
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 an IIC 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.
The Open Fit hearing aid is similar to the RIC. Like that device, it rests behind the ear and includes a transparent tube that delivers sound to the ear canal through a very small earpiece. Because the ear canal is left unobstructed, there is less occlusion with this style, and the smaller size appeals to many adults.
This style is best for mild to moderate hearing loss in high frequency ranges only.
Extended Wear Hearing Aids
These are placed deep in the ear canal and designed to stay in place for anywhere from one to four months at a time without removal.
Because they are professionally positioned to sit close to the eardrum, extended wear hearing aids offer improved sound directionality and reduced feedback, and their design prevents damage from moisture and earwax. These are particularly appealing to those with active lifestyles and can be worn while showering, exercising and sleeping. They are completely invisible to others.
Despite these advantages, they may not fit all ears, and cause some discomfort for certain patients. Designed for mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
Bluetooth® Hearing Aids
Bluetooth is a wireless communication platform that enables data to be transferred between two or more electronic devices through the use of high frequency radio waves. Bluetooth-compatible digital hearing aids provide improved functionality and convenience. By streaming signals from your electronic devices directly to your hearing aids, you are better able to stay connected.
Because Bluetooth technology requires more power than a typical hearing aid battery can generate, some instruments rely on an additional accessory, called a streamer. This device acts as a go-between, allowing your hearing aid to communicate with the other electronic device.
Not only does this allow for communication between the hearing aid and another device, but it also enables two hearing aids to communicate, giving you an improved hearing experience.
Rechargeable Hearing Aids
Rechargeable hearing aids are one of the top most requested features that hearing aid uses are asking for. They free users from having to deal with the tiresome task of changing the batteries, performing daily battery tests and always carrying around extra batteries. Rechargeable batteries are also environmentally friendly as they save users from throwing away nearly 100 hearing aid batteries per year.
The benefits of rechargeable batteries plentiful:
- Your charger can be your devices’ overnight home, so you don’t have to worry about losing them.
- You don’t need to worry about having extra batteries on hand.
- You will save time and money by not having to purchase disposable batteries.
Many rechargeable batteries can provide up to 24 hours of hearing from a single charge. The hearing aid may also include a fast-charging option, which gives uses a few hours of immediate use.
Call San Francisco Audiology at (415) 362-2901 for more information or to schedule an appointment.