Helping St. Louis Find the Best Hearing Aids
The latest hearing aids offer unprecedented clarity of sound, comfort, and functionality. Selecting the best hearing aids for you, depends on finding one that can address your level and type of hearing loss. Schedule an appointment and we’ll be happy to walk you through the best options for you.
Types of Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are generally divided into five or so different categories.
Completely-in-the-Canal Hearing Aids
Some of the smallest hearing aids available, completely-in-the-canal (or CiC) models of hearing aids are designed to sit entirely within your ear canal. This means that there will be no portion of the hearing aid that sticks out.
Completely in the canal models are incredibly discreet. They can effectively treat mild to moderate hearing loss. Because of the way they are positioned in the ear, these models are also less likely to encounter wind interference.
CiC models of hearing aids do have a few drawbacks. They can easily become obstructed by earwax. Additionally, their power and battery life both tend to be limited compared to other models.
In-the-Canal Hearing Aids
In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are designed to sit just on the edge of the ear canal. Part of the housing will be outside the ear canal and generally visible, whereas the speaker assembly will usually be hidden within the ear.
ITC hearing aids are larger than CiC hearing aids, so they can usually accommodate more features and more power. Some also find them to be a little more comfortable. This type of hearing aid is also less visible than some other larger models.
Because of their size and location, ITC hearing aids are slightly more visible than CiC models. They are also susceptible to earwax-caused speaker problems. Because of their small size, some models may be difficult to adjust.
In-the-Ear Hearing Aids
Hearing aid types known as “in the ear” (ITE) models will generally fill the bowl-shaped outer area of your ear. Sometimes, if you want a less-obvious device, the hearing aid can be designed to sit in the bottom of the bowl-shaped area. These models are known either as “full shell” or “part shell,” respectively.
The larger size of ITE hearing aids make them slightly easier to handle and customize. You will usually see longer battery life and more features (such as volume control) than in smaller models.
ITE hearing aids are more visible than in-the-canal devices. Additionally, because of their position, they may pick up slightly more wind noise than smaller styles.
Behind-the-Ear and Receiver-in-the-Ear Hearing Aids
Both behind-the-ear and receiver-in-the-ear hearing aids are very similar. The bulk of the mechanical portion of the hearing aid, including the power supply, sits behind the ear. A tube or wire connects the behind-the-ear portion of the device to a speaker assembly that sits in the ear or in the canal.
This type of hearing aid is great for all ages, as both the pieces can be replaced on an as-needed basis. Additionally, BTE and RITE models are capable of powerful amplification, making them a good option for those with moderate to severe hearing loss.
BTE and RITE styles of hearing aids are both among the most visible devices, though manufacturers have been able to make them more discreet by making them smaller and offering colors that blend in with your hair.
Open-Fit Hearing Aids
Open-fit models of hearing aids are another variation on the BTE style of device. Like BTE aids, open-fit styles use a thin tube to connect a speaker to a larger assembly. But the focus for an open-fit version is on keeping the ear unobstructed and open, so the speaker assembly tends to be quite small.
This type of hearing aid can help make your voice sound more natural, as your ear will not be blocked. Open fit styles can also help those who can hear low-frequency sounds well naturally but need more assistance hearing high-frequency sounds.
Because they usually consist of smaller parts, Open Fit hearing aids can sometimes be hard to handle. They are also slightly more conspicuous than ITE or ITC style of hearing aids.
There is no universal “best” model of hearing aid, so you’ll always work with your hearing specialist to find the type of hearing aid best suited for you.