If your audiologist has suggested that you would benefit from hearing aids, you may have already begun the research process. If so, you may have found the amount of information on the different manufacturers, styles and features to be overwhelming. While your audiologist is here to work with you through every step of the selection process, we’ve compiled some information about different hearing aid types below to get you started.
How Do Hearing Aids Work?
Hearing aids work by amplifying sounds to a level your ears can detect, and are especially beneficial when it comes to helping you understand speech in noisy settings like the Norseman Brewing Company.
Almost all hearing aids, regardless of the model you choose, consist of three parts: the microphone, amplifier and speaker. As sound passes through the microphone, it is converted to electrical signals. Once these signals reach the amplifier, their power is increased. The amplified sounds are then sent through the speaker into your ear.
Types of Hearing Aids
There are four main types of hearing aids:
- Behind-the-ear (BTE)
- In-the-canal (ITC)
- In-the-ear (ITE)
- Receiver-in-canal (RIC)
The main part of a BTE hearing aid, which contains the battery compartment, microphone and controls, sits behind the outer ear. A thin, clear tube connects the hearing aid to the earmold, where sound is channeled so it can enter the ear. This type of hearing aid is suitable for people with mild to profound hearing loss. They are often recommended for kids since the earmold can easily be replaced as they grow.
One type of BTE is called an open-fit hearing aid, which allows part of the ear canal to remain open. This style is best suited for people with low-frequency hearing loss and those prone to earwax buildup.
ITCs are lightweight plastic shells that are custom-fit to sit in the ear canal. These devices are comfortable but may be difficult to operate if you have dexterity issues. They are recommended for people with moderate to severe hearing loss.
ITE devices are similar to ITCs, but slightly larger and therefore easier to handle. Unlike ITCs, the shell fits in the outer portion of the ear and is more visible. ITEs are suitable for people with mild to severe hearing loss.
RICs are similar to BTEs except the receiver, or speaker, sits in the ear canal and is connected to the main shell via wiring. These devices are typically smaller than BTEs and are appropriate for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
For more information about the types of hearing aids available or to schedule an appointment, call Topeka ENT today.
Learn More About Hearing Aids