Hearing loss can greatly affect your ability to communicate with the world around you. You’ll likely find it difficult to communicate with loved ones and may even find yourself zoning out of life experiences because you can’t participate fully. Putting off getting assistance can put you at a higher risk for mental health disorders.
Many individuals may put off seeking assistance for several reasons. The most common is that they believe hearing aids are complicated, and they’re self-conscious about wearing them. The truth is that the more you discover about hearing aids information, the more likely you are to use them to restore your hearing.
How Do Hearing Aids Work?
All hearing aids work by amplifying the sounds that you have trouble hearing. With advancements in technology, most hearing aids are digital and run on a rechargeable battery. While you may have noticed that not all hearing aids look similar, they all do have the same basic components for delivering amplified sounds to your ear.
A hearing aid starts by collecting sounds from the environment around you via a small microphone. These sounds are amplified through a computer chip that converts the sound into a digital code. This digital code is then tweaked by the hearing aid to adjust specific tones based on your pre-programmed hearing loss information.
This tweaked digital code is converted back into amplified sound waves. The hearing aid receiver or speaker works to deliver those amplified sound waves into your ear. In summary, the main components of any hearing aids include:
- Amplifier Computer Chip
- Speakers / Receivers
How To Go About Getting Hearing Aids?
If you’re convinced that hearing aids may be the solution you’re looking for, then it’s time to get an appointment scheduled. Talking with your primary physician is a good first step to take. They can assess your hearing and determine if there are any causes, such as earwax or infection, that can be treated to remedy your hearing loss.
If your primary physician is unable to find a treatable cause, they will refer you to an audiologist. This is a hearing care professional that will evaluate the extent of your hearing loss in both of your ears and make recommendations about choosing the right hearing aid device to fit your needs.
The Various Available Hearing Aid Styles
While many commonly picture a device that sits outside of the ear, that’s not the only hearing aid style on the market. In fact, there are many different styles of hearing aids that come in all different sizes and colors. There are currently six main styles of hearing aids that you have to choose from.
Completely In The Ear (CIC)
This type of hearing aid is specifically designed to fit inside your ear canal. This aid is used for mild to moderate hearing loss in adults. Due to its very small size, this hearing device is much less visible than other options on the market. However, its small size means that it has a shorter battery span than some other options.
- Least Visible Type Of Hearing Aid
- Not Likely To Pickup Noise From The Wind
- Highly Suscepitble To Earwax Clogging The Speaker
- Uses Short-Lifespan Batteries
In The Canal (ITC)
An ITC is another type of hearing device that is specifically molded to fit inside of your ear canal. Unlike the CIC, this version doesn’t sit fully inside of the canal as there are still some visible parts. This hearing device works to enhance both mild and moderate hearing loss in adult men and women.
- Less Visible Than Other Types Of Hearing Aids
- Customized To Fit Perfectly In Your Ear Canal
- Susceptible To Earwax Clogging Of The Speaker
- Small Adjustable Features Can Be Difficult To Adjust
In The Ear (ITE)
ITEs are designed to fit within the ear. They come in two different fits, including a full shell that fits your ear’s entire bowl-shaped area and the half shell that fits the lower part of your outer ear. ITEs are recommended for people with mild to severe hearing loss.
- Offers Directional Microphones That Enhance Noises In Front Of You
- Has A Large Battery For A Long Lifespan
- Is More Visible Than ITC and CIC Models
- Is More Susceptible To Wind Noise Interuption
Behind The Ear (BTE)
BTEs are what most people commonly think of when they picture a hearing aid device. These hook over the top of the ear, and a small tube connects the device to the customized earpiece. BTEs are recommended for all types of hearing loss in individuals of all ages.
- Directional Microphones Allow You To Better Hear Sounds In Front Of You
- Capable Of More Amplification Than CIC Or ITC Styles
- Can Pickup More Wind Noise Than CIC Or ITC Styles
- More Visible Than Other Models
Receiver In Canal (RIC) / Receiver In The Ear (RITE)
RIC and RITE hearing aid styles feature a look similar to the BTE models where the device hooks over the ear. However, this model uses a small wire to connect the device part hooked over your ear to the receiver component inside of the ear canal. These devices are recommended for people of all ages who are suffering from all levels of hearing loss.
- Less Visible Than Other Models
- Have Directional Microphones To Enhance The Noises In Front Of You
- Not Available For People With Short Ear Canals
- Shorter Battery Life Than Other Styles
Similar to RITE and BTE models, the open fit model has hooks over the ear. The receiver is connected with a thin tube to an open dome that fits inside of the ear. Unlike other versions, this open dome allows for a better low-frequency sound introduction. This device is recommended for people with mild to moderate high-frequency hearing loss.
- Doesn’t Plug The Ear Like Other Styles
- Allows For More Natural Hearing Of Low-Frequency Sound Waves
- Maybe More Difficult To Insert Due To Open Structure
- Is More Visible Than Other Models
Additional Features You May Want In A Hearing Aid
As you learned above, all hearing aids work in the same basic way. The noises in your environment are picked up by the microphone, amplified, and delivered to your ear via a speaker or receiver. However, the features of hearing aids don’t have to stop there. Here are some optional features you may opt to get in your next set of hearing aids:
Specialized Noise Reduction
While all hearing devices come with a basic level of noise reduction, they’re not always ideal. For people who constantly find themselves in noisy environments, opting for a hearing aid the provides a higher level of noise reduction is a must. Looking into specialized noise reduction, such as wind noise reduction, can assist you in clearer hearing from your device.
All hearing devices have microphones that intake the sounds that occur around you. However, directional microphones are a new feature that allows the microphone to pick up more noise that is occurring in front of you. This feature is optimal for noisier environments as they allow you to turn up the noise of the person speaking in front of you and turn down the noises behind you.
As technology advances, so do the capabilities of hearing aids. Many come with Bluetooth-capability and wireless interfaces. This option makes it super easy for you to connect to your smartphone, computer, television, or music player.
Many newer hearing aids are coming with remote controls or have an online interface that allows you to change the settings on your hearing aid from your smartphone. This is a super convenient feature for ITC and CIC models where the adjustable buttons are tiny.
One feature that is exceptionally convenient for hearing aid users is synchronization. This feature allows any changes you make to one device to be automatically changed on the other device. For example, if you increase the volume of one hearing aid, the volume on your other hearing aid will increase to the same level.
Factors To Consider When Choosing The Right Hearing Aids
Picking the right hearing aids to meet your needs can be overwhelming, to say the least. With so many options, it can be easy to overlook key factors that will determine the success or failure of your decision. It’s important that you take a deep breath and consider all of the following factors in your decision of which hearing aid you use.
Your Future Needs
If the type of hearing loss that you are experiencing is age-related, it’s likely that it will get progressively worse over time. While most hearing aids last around five years, it’s best to consider a model that offers more amplification power than you currently need. This enhanced power will ensure that you can improve your hearing aids for better hearing as your hearing loss progresses.
Mind The Warranty
Hearings aids are no small investment. You should ensure that you understand what type of warranty comes along with the devices that you purchase. Some warranty components that you’ll want are coverages for parts, labor, and professional visits.
What Does Your Insurance Cover?
Different insurance policies will cover varying expenses related to your hearing aids. With the average cost of a single hearing aid ringing in at about $2,300, you’ll want to ensure that you’re making the most out of your insurance policy. You may even find it beneficial to purchase an individual hearing insurance plan to cover the high costs of buying and maintaining hearing aids.
Tips To Ensure Success With Your Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are going to be a new component of your lifestyle. While they may be a bit uncomfortable at first, you’ll get used to them as you wear them more often. To ensure that you have success with your hearing aids, here are a few tips that you should implement.
Ask Someone To Assist You In Hearing Aid Selection
With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to pick the right hearing aid for you. While your audiologist can give you the necessary direction to narrow down your choices, it’s best to have an assistant that personally knows you. Consider asking your spouse, family member, or close friend to go with you to pick out a hearing device as they know your needs well and can give you some direction on your ultimate decision.
Make Sure You Get A Demonstration
Don’t be afraid to ask your audiologist to explain precisely how the device works. Part of enhancing your hearing with a device is taking the time to understand how it works. When you know your hearing aid inside and out, you can ensure that it’s set up optimally to fit your needs.
Undergo A Real Hearing Test With Your New Aids
Once you receive your new hearing aids, your audiologist will program them to fit your specific hearing needs. Part of this process should include a real hearing test with the devices in. This test will ensure that the devices are set appropriately to enhance your hearing.
Choosing the right hearing aid is a big decision. Not only is a hearing aid a size able financial investment, but it will determine how well you respond to fixing your hearing loss. When you get hearing aids that helps, you’ll be more consistent in using them throughout your everyday life.