Did you know that, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 1 out of every 8 Americans over the age of 12 has a hearing loss in both ears? That’s about 30 million people!
Hearing loss has many root causes. Exposure to loud noises, accidents, or fevers are just some of the culprits. Some people are born with hearing loss, and some people lose their hearing naturally as they grow older.
If you have a hearing loss, you may well need to consider a hearing aid. As soon as you do a little research, you’ll learn that there is a variety of hearing aid styles.
Which one is right for you? Read on to find out more about the different types of hearing aids and which might be the best fit for you.
Where to Begin
Perhaps you’ve noticed it’s hard to follow a conversation—especially where there’s a lot of noise. Maybe you find you’re having to turn the TV up just a little bit louder. Buying a hearing aid (or a pair of hearing aids) may help you out.
You may want to start by talking to an ENT (an ear, nose, and throat specialist) or going to a hearing clinic, such as the Amplifon hearing aid clinic. A hearing test can determine exactly what kind of loss you have. Armed with this information, your provider can help you decide which styles of hearing aids will work best.
How Hearing Aids Work
A hearing aid contains a microphone that collects sounds from the environment. A computer chip with an amplifier converts the sounds into digital code. This code is analyzed for your needs before being released through speakers as sound waves you can hear.
Most hearing aids are digital and powered with batteries.
Hearing Aid Styles
There are two basic hearing aid types: In-the-Ear (ITE) and Behind-the-Ear (BTE).
These hearing aids are worn in the ear canal. They are custom fit from an impression made of the inside of your ear and can match your skin tone.
If you have mild-to-moderate hearing loss, you can consider an ITE style that fits deep in your ear canal. This hearing aid is very discreet. You remove it with a pull-out string or handle.
An ITE style that fits closer to your outer ear will benefit a wider range of hearing loss. This style has a long battery life, along with directional microphones and volume control, if desired.
One BTE style may be referred to as “receiver in the ear” or “receiver in canal.” This means that the receiver is inserted in the ear canal, while the microphone and processor sit in a case behind the ear. The receiver and the case are connected by a thin wire.
This type of hearing aid is best for mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
A BTE style that comes with an earmold is beneficial for any type of hearing loss. Their shape allows for more controls and features on the case. This is the style that is often preferred for children since it’s programmable and earmolds can be redone as the child grows.
Which Is Right for You
Now that you have a little more information under your belt, you can find a local clinic or ear doctor and schedule your appointment. Once you know what kind of hearing loss you’re working with, you can choose from the different hearing aid styles.
And next time you go to a party or go out to dinner with friends, you’ll feel confident you won’t miss a single word.