Types of Hearing Aids and How to Choose What’s Best for You
If you’re one of the 48 million Americans with some degree of hearing loss, you might be wondering if hearing aids can help improve your hearing.
While they can’t restore average hearing, a hearing aid can improve your ability to hear, and they may also play a significant role in boosting your overall quality of life.
You can learn about the different types of hearing aids and how to choose the right one.
If you have hearing loss, your doctor may recommend a small electronic device called a hearing aid that you wear in or behind your ear.
According to the
Hearing aids have different parts.
- A microphone.
- An amplifier.
- A speaker.
The microphone converts sound to electrical signals. The amplifier increases the power of the signal. The amplifier sends signals to the speaker.
Hearing aids are different by how they work and where you place them. The four primary types of devices are:
- “Behind-the-ear is what it’s called.”
- In the canal.
- In the ear.
- The receiver-in-canal is a device.
We will go over each type in the following sections.
A word about price
Depending on the type, technology, and features, hearing aids can vary widely in price. For example, according to one set of
Behind the ear is where hearing aids sit. They have a clear tube that connects to the earmold. The components are in a compartment behind the ear.
BTEs are easy to clean and handle, and they’re also relatively sturdy. According to the
The ear canal can be kept open by fitting behind the ear completely with an open-fit hearing aid. A tube goes into the canal. If you have a lot of earwax or are prone to it, this style is recommended.
- It is easy to clean, handle and use.
- It is appropriate for mild to profound hearing loss.
- Smaller devices have longer battery life.
- Good choice for kids.
- There was minimal feedback.
- It works well with microphones.
- The largest type of hearing aid.
- It is more visible than other styles.
- If you wear glasses, you can get in the way.
- can pick up noise from the outside
An In the canal. aid is a lightweight plastic shell that sits inside of the canal. They’re known for being comfortable and easy to use. Plus, they’re made to fit the size and shape of your ear. However, since they’re small, some people find them harder to use.
ITCs are not recommended for profound hearing loss.
Variation of the ITC hearing aid
The ITC hearing aid is a variation that is seated deep into the canal. This style is small, minimally visible and provides no feedback when using the phone.
The CIC is more expensive and may cause your voice to sound too loud.
This style is more appropriate for hearing loss that is mild to moderate.
- Very small and not visible.
- Most discreet hearing aid styles.
- ITC works with microphones.
- It is easy to use a phone.
- “It’s more difficult to remove.”
- It is prone to earwax and moisture.
- Not appropriate for hearing loss.
- CIC is too small for microphones.
ITE hearing aids are easy to use. The parts are in a shell that is inside the ear.
“The ability to install A telecoil. is one of the advantages of ITEs. This allows you to hear sound through the hearing aid, as opposed to the microphone. It makes it easier to hear when you’re on the phone.”
People with mild to severe hearing loss are the best candidates for ITEs.
- The device is one piece.
- They can be found in different colors to match the skin tone.
- It works well with microphones.
- Good clarity of sound.
- Not appropriate for hearing loss.
- may notice feedback issues
- It is more noticeable than other styles.
- Earwax is prone to build up.
The The receiver-in-canal is a device. type of hearing aid where the receiver sits inside the ear canal. The tube is nearly invisible, and the receiver is very small. They’re typically smaller than a BTE and appropriate for mild to moderate hearing loss.
This type of hearing aid tends to run into fewer feedback issues than others, and it is more likely to develop wax and moisture.
- Powerful and discreet.
- Less feedback issues are found in hearing aid styles.
- An open fit concept does not completely block the ear canal.
- A clear and natural sound is provided.
- Not appropriate for hearing loss.
- More visible than some of the smaller styles.
- The receiver in the ear can cause more wax.
Hearing aids use electronics, but how they work will depend on which type. The two primary types are analog and digital. Both convert sound waves in their own way. There are a few differences between hearing aids.
Analog hearing aids
The device converts sound waves into electrical signals. The signals are amplified. The FDA says that these are less expensive than digital hearing aids, but they are not as common.
Digital hearing aids
A hearing aid converts sound waves to numbers. These codes are amplified.
The device can amplify frequencies more than others, making it a popular choice for people who want a hearing aid that better matches their needs.
Not all hearing loss is the same. Deciding on the best hearing aid takes some trial and error, but there are a few tips to ensuring the process goes smoothly.
Get a checkup
If you want to know if a hearing aid is right for you, you should see a doctor and have your hearing tested. Recommendations for what will work best for your hearing can be provided by them.
Take it for a test drive
If you decide on a style, you should ask about taking the hearing aids for a test drive. Trial periods are provided by most companies. Before you leave the store, make sure the product is fully refundable if you decide to return it.
Beware of advertisements with misleading claims
There are many companies that claim to sell hearing aids. Some are not.
Before you buy a hearing aid online, talk with a doctor or an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor. They can help you determine if the company is trustworthy.
Also, check out Consumer Reports or Consumers Advocates for information on hearing aids.
The style and type of hearing aid are typically deciding factors. There are other features to keep in mind.
- A telecoil.
- noise reduction
- The microphones are directional.
- rechargeable batteries
- A plug-in audio output.
- remote controls.
If this is your first time with hearing aids or you’re trying a new style, make sure to ask about the trial period. Most manufacturers offer a trial for at least 30 days. That said, some may have nonrefundable fees, so ask about those before leaving the store.
The duration of the warranty is a critical feature. Ask questions before purchasing and read the fine print. Extending the warranty is an option that you may want to consider.
Repairs and adjustments
Ask about repairs and adjustments. Does the hearing aid provider offer free or reduced-cost adjustments or repairs for a long time?
The peace of mind that comes with ongoing support is often worth the higher price for a hearing aid.
“The best thing to do when choosing a hearing aid is to work with an audiologist who is also a child’s doctor. An impression of the outer ear canal is what an audiologist will do. The next appointment will be with the audiologist.”
- Make sure the earmolds fit your child.
- “Program the hearing aids to fit your child’s needs.”
- teach your child how to use the devices
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the best hearing aids for children are “Behind-the-ear is what it’s called.” since they can attach to different earmold types. BTEs are also easy to replace, safe for small ears, and easy to handle and clean.
“There are ways to make hearing aids more affordable if price is a problem. Many people look to other organizations to afford a device since most private health insurance plans and Medicare don’t cover hearing aids.”
If you have a child with hearing loss, look into the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) service. Under this service, Medicaid will pay for the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss, including hearing aids. Your child may also be covered by your state’s early intervention program or State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
A new type of hearing aid called a bone-anchored, or cochlear, hearing aid requires surgery to implant the device. Because of this, Medicare has declared it a prosthetic device, allowing coverage for some adults.
Some nonprofit organizations, government and state groups, and independent groups offer assistance with hearing aids, such as covering costs or providing used or refurbished aids. For more information, contact the
Can hearing loss be prevented?
Not all hearing loss is preventable, such as age-related hearing loss, which can be hereditary and unavoidable, according to NYU Langone Health. However, you can take steps to protect yourself from noise-induced hearing loss.
Loud noises can damage the inner ear. The NIDCD says noise above 85 decibels is included.
Protection from noise can help when working in a noisy environment. When using headphones or earbuds, it is advisable to turn down the volume of music.
Which is the best type of hearing aid for severe hearing loss?
Mild to moderate loss of hearing can be achieved with a hearing aid. It is important to read the fine print when shopping for a hearing aid because some are only appropriate for mild to moderate loss.
Behind-the- ear devices are more appropriate for hearing loss types that are severe to profound. The smaller styles may not provide enough power.
If you have a lot of hearing loss, working with an audiologist is a good idea. They will be able to test your hearing, fit you for the best device, make adjustments, and provide ongoing support.
Which type of hearing aid is the least expensive?
Hearing aids are expensive. It is not uncommon to spend over $1,000 for one device, with some of the top hearing aids costing close to $6,000 or more per pair.
The price of hearing aids can be found from $399 to $1,500 per device.
Another way to save money is to not use features like voice recognition and Bluetooth. Behind-the- ear hearing aids are more affordable than discreet ones.
That said, it’s best to talk with a hearing care specialist about your particular situation. They will help you determine if a budget pair will work for you or if you would be better off investing in a more expensive brand and model.
A hearing aid is a small device that can amplify sounds that are hard to hear.
Depending on your hearing loss and features you want to include, a doctor or an audiologist can recommend a specific type of hearing aid. Most hearing aids are digital.
Hearing aids are expensive so it is a good idea to shop around and compare prices.
If you have questions about hearing aids, you should talk to your doctor. They can refer you to an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor who can help you with your hearing aids.