Choosing a Hearing Aid

Determining which hearing aid is right for you is a process; there are a number of different factors that need to be taken into consideration when making your decision. The easiest way to work through this process is to break it down into steps, making each decision before moving on to the next.

The first step is determining which listening lifestyle you belong in. There are three: quiet, active and dynamic.

Those that fall into the private lifestyle spend most of their time at home with minimal background noise. This lifestyle requires the lowest level of technology and additional features.

Active level patients require flexibility, often moving between different environments with varying levels of background noise. Those with this lifestyle require a mid-range level of technology and additional features.

Those in the dynamic lifestyle are in the most complicated group. They are exposed to many different environments with varying levels of background noise. Their hearing aid must be powerful enough to easily switch between settings. This style also requires the highest level of technology and most additional features.

The next decision you will have to make is which style to get. There are six major styles.

Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) is the smallest and most discrete style. The device fits entirely within the ear canal, making it practically invisible. Because of its size, the device cannot contain any additional features and must use the smallest batteries, which have the shortest battery life.

In-the-canal (ITC) is just slightly larger than the CIC. This device sits half within the ear canal and half outside of it. It can contain a few additional features and a slightly larger battery.

In-the-ear (ITE) is more visible than the ITC, sitting in the outer part of the ear. There are two styles, one that takes up the whole outer ear and one that takes up only the lower part. Since this device is no longer protected by the ear canal it will pick up unwanted noises, such as the wind. It is able to contain even more additional features and a larger battery.

Behind-the-ear (BTE) contains two pieces, one that sits within the ear canal and one that sits behind the ear. The two pieces are connected with tubing. This is the largest style of hearing aid so it may contain the most number of additional features and uses the largest battery.

Receive-in-canal (RIC) is similar to the BTE except instead of being connected with tubing the two pieces are joined by a thin wire. This style is less visible than the BTE and can contain the same number of additional features and has an identical battery size.

Open fit is the final style of hearing aid. Like the RIC, this style has two parts connected with a thin wire. The part that usually takes up the whole canal is redesigned to only take up half. This allows low-frequency sounds to enter the ear naturally while high-frequency sounds are still processed through the hearing aid.

Once you have decided on the right style of hearing aid for you, your audiologist will complete a series of hearing tests to ensure the device is programmed for your specific degree of hearing loss.

If you would like more information on the hearing aid process or would like to schedule an appointment, contact our office at 337-266-9820.