You finally get the nerve up to go to the hearing aid workplace and make your ears tested. They break the news that you need a hearing aid. Your brain is swimming with visions of having to put on that huge thing on your ear. How can this have happened? Why me?! And then they start telling you about each the different kinds you can get. All that terminology goes right over your head. Don’t they know you in shock! How on earth can you make a decision when you don’t actually understand what they’re talking about!
There are dozens and dozens of different hearing aids. It may be a very complicated world of technological terms. Sometimes, those of us that work with hearing aids all the time can overlook exactly how foreign they can sound for you. To make matters worse, the manufacturers prefer to call things different names, so they sound like something different. No wonder there is so much confusion! Click here to know more about hearing test.
I am going to attempt to unravel some of the mysteries for you. When you get down to it, there are only a few terms you need to understand.
There are seven main styles of hearing aids: HS, ITC, MC, CIC, BTE, and OE.
- Half Shell (HS) They can have a great deal of power and features, use a bigger battery, but are somewhat more appealing.
- In the Canal (ITC) The next smallest size is the habit ITC. Harder to see compared to larger hearing aids, but also not able to have as much power or as many capabilities.
- Mini Canal (MC) Smaller than the ITC hearing aid, the custom mini canal uses a smaller battery and has less power available. Characteristics may also be limited.
- Completely in the Canal (CIC) There are normally no manual controls on a CIC, telephone usage is often better because they are less inclined to whistle. The deficiency of power is that the main reason people cannot use this style, though a little ear canal can save you from having the ability to wear one too.
- Behind the Ear (BTE) This hearing instrument sits on your ear and can be attached to your own ear by a tube with an earmold.
- Open Ear (OE) and Receiver in Canal (RIC) This hearing aid is a fairly new type of BTE made available in recent years and is a lot more compact compared to a conventional BTE. They are meant primarily for high-frequency hearing loss. It’s attached to your ear with a very thin tube or cable with a small earbud on the tip. They’re known as Open Ear because they leave the ear canal less obstructed than other styles of hearing aid.
- Directional Microphones – They’re the best feature you can have in your hearing aid for hearing in noisy areas, such as restaurants. (They reduce sounds from behind so it does not interfere with the noise in front of you) Directional microphones can be automatic; they automatically turn on when the sound level in the space becomes too loud. Some are also adaptive, which means that they can follow sounds, or even reduce several distinct sounds at the same time.
- Noise Reduction – Noise reduction doesn’t really reduce sound, it reduces amplification in the frequencies where there’s sound and no address. When there is a fan running in the background, the hearing aid will not amplify it as much as it will speak. After the hearing aid finds both speech and sound at a frequency, then you still get both. More advanced hearing devices manage noise better by dividing up the frequencies into smaller pieces.
- Memories – There are two types of memories on a hearing aid, automatic and manual. Many hearing aids have a push button that lets you get different configurations (memories) for different scenarios like quiet places, noisy areas, and music or phone. The hearing aid beeps when you push the button to allow you to know which memory you’re using. Advanced hearing aids can have automatic memories. Rather than pushing a button, the hearing aid does it to you! Some hearing aids can even have a mixture of both.
- Feedback Cancellation – Feedback (or annoying whistling sound) is the number one complaint people have about hearing aids. Most hearing aid wearers encounter opinions when they place their hand above their ear or use the telephone.
- Bands / Stations – Bands are what we use to adjust the volume in a hearing aid. More bands mean more control once we plan the hearing tool for hearing loss.
Channels are utilized to adjust the part of the hearing aid that keeps the noise from becoming too loud. Channels can also refer to the hearing aid sound reduction system. For noise reduction, more stations are unquestionably better since the hearing aid can split up the sound into smaller pieces and isolate noise from language.
These are the primary things that you need to comprehend about your hearing aid. If you truly need the very best one for you, I recommend you concentrate on telling your specialist exactly what benefits you want from your hearing device. Let them know what frustrates you to give them a much better idea of how they will be able to help you.
At SoundBenefits, our Audiologists have hand-selected hearing aids which include all the popular features that you expect from advanced devices. You are going to find the same premium technology available in high-end clinics, without the markup. Learn more about SoundBenefits right here.