Hearing Aids

The decision to purchase a hearing aid can be intimidating, confusing, time-consuming and expensive.

There are many different types of hearing aids available, and deciding which hearing aid is best depends upon a few different factors.  No two ears are the same.   A hearing aid that works for one person, does not always work for the next.  Degree of hearing loss, configuration of hearing loss, shape of an individual’s ear anatomy, and lifestyle can all influence the type of hearing aid that is most appropriate for each person.

The sooner an individual with hearing loss is fit with hearing aids, the easier the adjustment to the hearing aids will be.  Although hearing aids cannot prevent further hearing loss, hearing aids return stimulation of speech sounds to the hearing nerve and brain.   Hearing aids can improve the brain’s ability to process speech when there is competing background noise which is one of the main complaints of most individuals with hearing loss .  In addition to those benefits, research shows that hearing aids also improve:

Left untreated, hearing loss can also lead to reductions in cognitive abilities, isolation, low self-esteem and depression. Reduced stimulation to your ears and brain can actually impair the brain’s ability to process sound and recognize speech . The more speech recognition decreases, the harder it is to recover. As a result, metal sharpness and cognition decrease. In fact, untreated hearing loss has been linked to dementia and other cognitive disorders.
View Hearing Aid Styles

Hearing aids are essentially mini PA systems that consist of four parts:

  • Microphone
  • Amplifier
  • Receiver (speaker)
  • Power supply (batteries)
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Today’s hearing aids come in a wide range of technology, sizes and styles. The cost of hearing aids depends on the level of technology that is chosen to best fit one’s specific lifestyle and needs. This will be determined during a hearing aid consultation. At this appointment, the audiologist will review the results of the hearing evaluation as well as discuss one’s home and work life, hobbies and extracurricular activities . Other factors that will influence which hearing aid to choose are: ​

  • Degree of hearing loss
  • Hand Dexterity
  • Visual Impairments
  • Cosmetics
  • Anatomical issues/skin allergies
  • Budget

The 2 most important topics that will be discussed during a hearing aid consult are: ​
  • Level of technology in the hearing aid
  • Style of the hearing aid

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Levels of Hearing Aid Technology

Hearing aids come in essentially 4 levels of technology.

Each level of technology is determined by the amount of sound processing, noise reduction, and feedback suppression it offers. For example, the most basic technology often requires one to make manual adjustments (pushing a button) located on the hearing aid when in different listening environments. The premium levels adjust automatically depending on what type of environment the wearer is in. The four levels are technology are as follows:

Entry Digital

This level of technology is best if individuals who are usually in quiet environments. It offers comfortable listening of one-on-one conversations and television in a relatively quiet area.

Basic Digital

This level of technology is best for individuals who are usually in quiet environments and occasional small groups. It is not as fully adaptive in noisy background noises but it offers comfortable listening of television, as well as conversations in quiet and in areas of low background noise.

Mid Range Digital

This level of technology is best for individuals who are more socially active and are involved in multi-speaker conversations in both quiet and noisy environments. Although this level offers a good amount of noise reduction and advanced sound processing, it is not fully automatic may require manual adjustments.

Premium Digital

This level of technology is best for individuals who frequently attend large meetings, are very active in social events, and want the best hearing technology available. It offers comfortable listening for active lifestyle, both indoors and outdoors. This technology is fully automatic and offers the most adjustments for sound processing and noise reduction as well as synchronization of sound between hearing aids thus resulting is the clearest sound quality in all type of environments.

Styles of Hearing Aids

In-the-Ear Hearing Aids

These hearing aids are custom fit to the patient’s ear by taking an ear impression. They come is different sizes which can fill the ear completely to appearing almost invisible. The main custom hearing aids styles are as follows:

Full Shell

  • Best for mild to severe losses
  • Largest style of the custom aids.
  • Fill the entire bowl of the outer ear thus allowing more room for controls (volume control, program button), directional microphones and larger battery (13)
  • Easier size to handle for those with dexterity and visual impairments

Half Shell

  • Best for mild to moderately-severe losses
  • Fills half the space in the bowl of the outer ear
  • Smaller battery (312)
  • Less room to fit all controls along with directional microphones

In-The-Canal

  • Best for mild to moderate losses
  • Sits in lower portion of the bowl of outer ear – less noticeable in ear
  • Less room to fit all controls along with directional microphones
  • More difficult to use for individuals with dexterity of visual impairments

Completely-In-The-Canal

  • Best for mild to moderate losses
  • Smallest fit making is almost invisible in the ear canal
  • Unable to fit directional microphones or controls on faceplate
  • Smallest battery (10)

Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids

These hearing aids contain two parts. The first part is the hearing aid that sits behind the pinna of the ear and the second part consists of either an earmold or dome tip/receiver that fits into the ear canal via tubing or wire.

Receiver-In-The-Ear (RITE) /Receiver-In-Canal (RIC)

  • Fit mild to severe loss
  • Smaller size hearing aid case behind pinna of ear attached to small wire with receiver at tip.
  • The receiver is placed into ear canal using either a dome or micromold for retention in the ear canal
  • Most appropriate for sloping high-frequency losses with normal low-frequency hearing to allow for more “open-fit” and less chance of occlusion
  • Uses large or small battery size (13 or 312)

Hearing Aid with Standard Earmold

  • Fit mild to severe/profound losses
  • Fit with custom earmold
  • Usually larger size hearing casing – more controls available however some casing can come in mini size
  • Larger size battery (675 or 13)

Given their daily use, paying for high quality hearing aids is a good investment in your quality of life, in your ability to stay connected and to communicate well.

Are you ready to start your journey to better hearing?



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