With the advent of digital technology more than 20 years ago, hearing aids have remarkably improved. If you’re picturing big and bulky devices with questionable sound quality, you’ll be pleased to learn today’s instruments are smaller, more comfortable and provide sound that is more natural. They are available in a variety of sizes and styles, so finding one that appeals to your lifestyle needs and cosmetic preferences should be easy. Here are the styles available:
A RIC or Receiver in the Canal hearing aid is a smaller, more discreet version of a behind the ear hearing aid. The receiver is worn far enough into the ear canal where it is almost invisible and provides excellent sound quality because of its close proximity to the eardrum. A small wire connects the receiver to the actual hearing aid which is worn discreetly behind the ear. It’s an excellent hearing aid choice because it is cosmetically appealing, yet very flexible and can be fit to a wide variety of hearing losses.
The most popular style of hearing aid (about 60 percent of users choose this type), a BTE device is curved to match the contour of the ear and rests directly behind the ear. The housing, which contains all the electronics, is encased in plastic and connects to the ear canal with a thin, clear tube or ear mold. Though more visible than other styles, the BTE is simple to use, making it a popular choice for children. It’s powerful enough for all types of hearing loss.
This hearing aid is placed in the ear canal and is the smallest type of aid available. It takes advantage of the ear’s natural ability to collect sound, and its discreet size makes the device virtually invisible to others. The trade-off is a shorter battery life, and it may prove difficult to adjust for those with poor manual dexterity. This is a good choice for mild to moderate hearing loss.
This hearing aid is designed to fill the outer portion of the ear, and is larger than those worn in the ear canals. It is less discreet, but the size allows for more features and makes the unit easier to adjust. A bigger battery translates to a longer battery life. Those with a severe or profound hearing loss can benefit from this style.
This style is also designed to fit in the ear canal, but not as deeply as a CIC device, resting securely in the lower portion instead. It’s a little larger which helps to extend the battery life as well as makes it easier to insert and remove the aid. It is best suited for patients with a mild to moderate hearing loss.
Please call Comprehensive ENT at (804) 228-4480 for more information or to schedule an appointment.