There is a wide range of technology available in today’s hearing aids. Many features can be built-in or added by using wireless accessories. Generally speaking, the more ‘basic’ a device is, the wearer will need to make manual adjustments for volume and in different listening environments. A more ‘advanced’ device may make these changes automatically, as the sophisticated system detects what is happening in the listener’s environment. Your audiologist will explain these differences in greater detail and you will be able to decide what features are important to you and what level of technology is best for your listening needs.
HEARING AIDS STYLES
Today’s hearing instruments are NOT one size fits all. They come in many different shapes, sizes and colors. Whether you choose a small discreet device or a larger colorful device, there is something to please everyone!
When choosing a style, it is important to consider:
-the severity of hearing loss
-manual dexterity and/or visual difficulties
In-the-Ear (ITE) An ITE sits flush with the outer ear bowl. It has more room for manual controls and can accommodate up to a severe hearing loss. It uses a larger battery, which lasts longer. In cases of poor dexterity, this style is generally easier to handle.
In-the-Canal (ITC) ITCs are a bit smaller than ITEs, making them a bit less visible. Manual controls are still able to be used on this style. This style can accommodate a mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC) CICs are very small and fit deep in the ear canal, making it seem ‘invisible’. While this style offers cosmetic benefits, it does have limitations due to its size (shorter battery life, comfort, being prone to wax/moisture damage, limited manual control). Depending on ear anatomy, the CIC can fit a mild to severe hearing loss.
Invisible-in-the-Canal (IIC) An IIC is the smallest style available. It sits invisibly beyond the second bend of the ear canal. The benefits and disadvantages are the same as the CIC. The IIC is designed for a mild to moderate hearing loss.
Behind-the-Ear (BTE) devices sit behind or on top of the outer ear. Tubing or wiring routes sounds down into an ear dome or earmold that is placed in the ear canal. BTEs come in different colors to blend in with hair or skin tones as well as bright colors for those who wish to show them off. Generally, BTEs can accommodate more features, controls, and power than custom styles.
Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) RICs are small BTE style devices that have the speaker (receiver) placement in the ear canal. They can be used with a small rubber ear dome or a custom earmold. RICs are designed to fit from a mild to a severe hearing loss.
Behind-the-Ear (BTE) with earmold BTE with earmold can fit from a mild to profound hearing loss. This style is excellent for children, whose ear shape and size will change as they grow. It is also recommended for those who may experience frequent ear drainage, heavy perspiration or heavy buildup of wax in the ear, since the electronics are housed BEHIND and not IN the ear canal.
CROS and BI-CROS solutions
CROS hearing system is needed when you have single-sided deafness (SSD).
BI-CROS system is used when you have SSD and some degree of hearing loss in your BETTER ear. The device look like ‘regular’ hearing aids (custom and behind-the-ear models are available) but sound is routed wirelessly from the deaf ear to the better ear, allowing you to hear sounds from both sides again.