Just like our eyes, our brains are wired to receive input from both ears. There are a few unique situations that allow for only one hearing aid to be utilized, however those are rare. When a hearing care professional suggests two hearing aids for first time wearers, many seem to think that starting with one hearing aid will be easier to adjust to, and additionally, it will save money.
As we have discussed in previous articles, there are many factors that go into investing in hearing aids. Our priority, first and foremost, is basing technology and components inside the units on your lifestyle to ensure they are doing their job for the life you want to live. It should not be based on what the hearing aid looks like. With that being said, there are many different styles of hearing aids. The range of style options allows hearing care professionals to work with the wants and needs of each patient; however,....
Too often, the process in which we hear is overlooked. As a hearing care professional, it is crucial for patients to recognize how our ears and brain work in order to understand the process in which we hear vs. how we understand. I have worked with many patients and feel that the most successful have a clear understanding of these differences which provides realistic expectations during the hearing aid process.
It’s almost that time of year. Guns are being cleaned, license are being renewed and cameras are making their way into woods everywhere to scout potential hunting grounds. There is so much to think about but one of the most important components of hunting is often overlooked: Hearing Protection.
Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no external stimulus is present. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates approximately 15% of the general public, that is over 50 million Americans, experience some form of tinnitus. Of that, nearly 20 million individuals struggle with chronic tinnitus that is considered a burden, while 2 million have extreme tinnitus that is often debilitating.
With all of the advertisements and promises from hearing care providers and hearing aid manufacturers, many individuals experience much confusion when it comes to deciding what hearing aid is best for them. In my years as a practicing Audiologist I have seen patients love their hearing aids, some hate them and some feel like they wasted their money.
To say there is an infinite number of options regarding different forms of amplification and hearing aids is an understatement. Too often, the decision about which device is the right choice can be very overwhelming. I would like to spend time breaking down some important differences patients need to know. Hopefully this information can make the decision-
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As we have discussed in previous articles, there are many factors that go into investing in hearing aids. Our priority, first and foremost, is basing technology and components inside the units on your lifestyle to ensure they are doing their job for the life you want to live. It should not be based on what the hearing aid looks like.
With that being said, there are many different styles of hearing aids. The range of style options allows hearing care professionals to work with the wants and needs of each patient; however, it is important to remember that some hearing aids may not be appropriate depending on the degree of hearing loss the individual has.
IIC hearing aids are the smallest hearing aid option on the market today.
This device fits deeper down into the canal to create a more invisible look; it is custom made based on an impression taken from your ear. Additionally, from the outside, this hearing aid is not visible. Because the fit of this unit is deeper, it is the most secure fit within all the hearing aid options. Battery life for this unit is typically 3-
CIC hearing aids are slightly larger than the IICs. This custom hearing aid also sits down in the ear canal but is slightly more visible from the outside. The fit of this unit is still quite secure because of the deeper fit. Due to the slightly larger size of these units there is the flexibility of having manual controls on the units, as well as software that is Bluetooth compatible should you desire an accessory for the hearing aid. Battery life is typically in the 3-
ITC hearing aid is a custom fit hearing aid which provides comfort, as it is made for your ear and your ear only. It is one of the easier hearing aids to insert and remove because of the size. There are external controls and Bluetooth capabilities in this style option as well. Additionally, because of the increased size of the unit, the battery is slightly larger providing a longer battery life between changes, on average lasting one week.
Half Shell (HS)
HS hearing aids are custom hearing aids that are also one of the easiest hearing aids to insert and remove. They are a great option for patients with dexterity issues. Slightly larger than the ITC hearing aids they are visible units. They have external control options and Bluetooth capabilities as well as a battery life of typically one week.
Full Shell (FS)
FS hearing aids are custom hearing aids the fill the entire portion of the ear, making them very easy to insert and remove. Again, like the HS hearing aids, this is a great option for individuals with any dexterity issues. This hearing aid is suitable for most treatable hearing losses and has external controls/ Bluetooth options for ease of use. Average batter life ranges from one to two weeks depending on the battery size ordered.
BTE hearing aids are the most flexible hearing aid to fit, as they can be utilized for all degrees of treatable hearing loss. The hearing aid sits behind an individuals’ ear while tubing and an earmold are used to funnel the sound from the unit into the ear canal. The earmold is custom made to the individuals’ ear in order to provide a comfortable fit. This style can also be made in a Power BTE which is for patients with severely-
RIC and RIE hearing aids are very similar to the BTE arrangement requiring a portion of the unit to sit behind the ear. The difference between this and the BTE is the wiring that sits next to the face and enters the ear canal is much smaller and not hallow. This allows for a much more discrete visual appearance, as well as a more comfortable and nature feel. RIC/RIE hearing aids can encompass an open fit which is for someone with a mild to moderate hearing loss. It can also have a custom earmold attached to allow someone with a more severe hearing loss to utilize the comfort of this style. Battery life ranges from one to two weeks depending on the size of the physical unit behind the ear. Bluetooth accessories are also an option for these devices.
Regardless of what option you may feel is best for you, please be open to hearing the recommendation by your hearing healthcare provider, as they want what is best for you and your hearing loss.
Dr. Brewer completed her Doctor of Audiology degree at the University of Louisville’s School of Medicine and her undergraduate degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology at Miami University in Oxford, OH. She is licensed by the state of Kentucky as an audiologist and hearing instrument specialist. She is also a member of the American Academy of Audiology, Academy of Doctors of Audiology, Kentucky Academy of Audiology and American Speech-