Hearing aids have been about for centuries, but thankfully, as with many other things, progress has made them smaller. Do you remember those old fashioned ear trumpets? Nothing like advertising the fact that you’re a little hard of hearing is there, what did you say? Well, many of the most modern hearing aids are just about invisible, so if it’s important for you not to tell the whole world of your hearing difficulties they need never know.
Types of Hearing Aids
- Body Worn Hearing Aids were one of the first types, but progress has meant that they are now rarely used. They basically consisted of an earmold, a case and a cord. The amplifier bit was in the case which was worn around the belt or in a pocket (about the size of playing cards), this was connected to the earmold with a cord and could really provide some good levels of amplification. These cumbersome devices, however, have now been replaced with much smaller designs.
- Behind the Ear Hearing Aids (BTE) were the next on the scene, pretty much, with a small case sitting just behind the ear. These are usually made from plastic and available in a variety of colors. The earmold is actually manufactured to exact size from an impression taken from the individual’s ear. BTE hearing aids are still largely used for babies and children, who need to have them replaced often as they grow.
- In the Ear Hearing Aids (ITE) are custom made to fit each individual ear. Although they’re in the ear, they can sometimes be spotted if you stand face to face with the wearer.
- In the Canal Hearing Aids (ITC) are smaller still, and only fill the bottom portion of the ear. These are generally best for mild cases of hearing loss, up to moderately severe. They’re a bit more expensive than the models above, (smaller does generally mean more pricey doesn’t it?)
- Completely In the Canal Hearing Aids (CIC) are smaller still, and these are not generally recommended for people who still have good low frequency hearing because of the “occlusion affect”.
Choosing a Hearing Aid
With so many different styles and models of hearing aid to choose from, you might think that it’s quite a problem trying to choose your favorite, but don’t worry, your hearing aid specialist will advise you on which is the best type for your particular problem. Some are more expensive than others, some are more durable than others and some are more suitable for particular hearing loss problems, so be advised by an expert. That’s what they’re there for.