Improving Your Health and Wellbeing

Your Guide to Hearing Aids

by Ernest Smith

Your health clinic may recommend hearing aids following a test even if you can still hear. Generally speaking, hearing tests involve the playback of electronic sounds — known as whistles — at different volumes with different frequencies. This way, an audiologist will be able to make an assessment of which whistles you can hear and which you can't. If some frequencies in your aural response are below par, then hearing aids can be programmed to adjust sounds for your particular level of hearing loss. What are the main types of hearing aid you might be fitted with?

Behind-the-Ear Aids

Behind-the-ear hearing aids are also known as BTEs. They are the most frequently used devices because of their relatively low cost, adaptability and comfort. Most people forget they are wearing one once they have got used to them. A battery is fitted in a small plastic housing which also contains the amplifier and tiny microphone. From this, a small tube of plastic extends forwards, wrapping around the front of your ear almost invisibly. This will have either an ear mould or a soft tip which you insert into your ear. This acts as a tiny speaker, boosting the level of the frequencies you need. Many BTEs can be easily adjusted to alter their EQ response as your hearing loss changes in time.

In-the-Ear Aids

As their name suggests, in-the-ear — or ITE — hearing aids do not sit behind the outer ear but occupy the space just beyond the opening of your ear. Many people prefer them because when they are viewed from behind, the hearing aid cannot be detected. This one of the only problems that is associated with BTEs. That said, they are still detectable when your ear is viewed from the side, so this advantage is only of limited use. An ITE is often considered to be more beneficial to younger people with hearing loss since they take a little more adjustment than BTEs typically do. Therefore, geriatric patients are more likely to be recommended BTEs.

In-the-Canal Aids

This type of hearing aid is much less visible than nearly all other versions you could go for. Like ITEs, in-the-canal aids are not detectable from behind. Indeed, because they sit within the middle ear canal, they are very hard to spot even when someone is looking directly at your ear from the side. Like ITEs, ITCs are not ideal for young children or seniors. However, they can be very effective for many patients so long as they do not suffer from the most severe levels of hearing loss. Although they pack a punch for their miniature design, they are not powerful enough for those with lots of hearing loss.

Reach out to a professional to learn more about hearing aids