Once you’ve had a hearing screening and it’s clear you need a hearing aid, your next step is to choose the hearing aid model best suited for your type and degree of hearing loss. Hearing aid models work based on certain types of hearing loss, and what is suited to your lifestyle, so it’s important to consult with your hearing health provider as you make your selection. Not every hearing aid works best for every lifestyle.
When it comes to choosing the device best suited to correct your hearing loss, you have a number of choices. Options include a behind the ear (BTE) hearing aid, aids that sit in the in the ear (ITE) but outside the ear canal, those models that actually rest inside the canal (ITC), and microphone-in-helix (MIH) models. The option you choose will vary according to your hearing needs and your personal preference.
The following is a basic description of each. Be sure to check with your hearing health provider for more specific information about the features of different brands.
BTE Hearing Aids
BTE hearing aid models sit behind or on top of the outer ear with tubing that routes the sound down into the ear canal via a custom-fit mold or an ear tip that won’t block the entire ear canal opening. BTE styles are typically available in different colors to match hair or skin tone. The model helps with a wide range of hearing loss from moderate to severe.
ITE Hearing Aids
ITE styles are the oldest type of modern hearing aid on the market. They are custom-fit to each wearer, based on a mold impression taken by the hearing care professional at the time of the hearing aid consultation. ITE is often prescribed for more severe cases of hearing loss. These styles are also available in different skin tones to blend in with the outer ear.
ITC Hearing Aids
These nearly invisible hearing aids rest snugly in the ear canal and are the tiniest hearing aids available. Like ITE hearing aids, hearing aids that go completely in the canal are custom fit to each wearer. ITC hearing aids are generally reserved for those with mild or moderate hearing loss.
MIH Hear Aids
Microphone-in-Helix (MIH) hearing aid is a custom solution that meets a variety of needs. It brings together the open fit, durability and higher gaine of a BTE and mixes it with the discreet, cosmetically appealing size and easy insertion of an ITE. The MIH is engineered to fit within the contours of the external ear and works by leveraging the natural effects of the pinna and external ear.
Technology Revolutionizes Hearing Aids
Many hearing aid device models are now compatible with smartphone technology. Devices with smartphone compatibility offer a wide variety of features and accessories that patients appreciate, including a GPS locator service that will eliminate worrying about misplaced hearing aids forever. Other features include being able to:
- Control your hearing aids’ settings from the manufacturer’s app.
- Listen to your favorite music directly from your iPod, iPad, or iPhone to your hearing aids.
- Communicate with your loved ones using the FaceTime video chat tool.
- Make and receive telephone calls effortlessly by streaming directly through your hearing aids.
- Hear clearer driving directions from your GPS and much more.