When it comes to picking the perfect hearing device, you have a lot to consider. From programs and features designed to cater to different hearing needs to different brands and models of hearing aids, there’s a lot to take in. To help you make this important decision, here are some of the pros and cons of our most popular hearing aid styles.
Parts of A Hearing Aid
All hearing aids have the same basic components. The first is a microphone that picks up on all the sounds around you and converts them into electrical signals. Next is a sophisticated chip that acts like a mini computer, analyzing sounds and running complex programs to enhance speech, reduce background noise, and help you focus on what you want to hear. Finally, the electrical signals are passed to an amplifier, and from there to a receiver that converts the modified electrical signals back into sound waves and sends them into your ear.
Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
BTE hearing devices are a standing favorite. They house most of the hearing aid behind the ear and have a small plastic tube carrying signals from the device to a custom ear mold that houses the receiver. Pros include their slightly larger size, making them a hearing aid that packs a lot of punch, and works great for those with profound or severe hearing loss. They are also easier to manipulate since the parts aren’t too tiny, and they often have a longer life than some of the smaller hearing aids.
The biggest con of BTE devices is their size. While designed to be stylish and sleek, the reality is that this device sits behind the ear and can be a bit more noticeable. Prolonged phone use can also be awkward.
Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) Hearing Aids
RIC hearing aids, like BTE devices, have some components behind the eras, including the microphone and amplifier. What makes this device different from the BTE model is that the receiver is in a custom mold that sits inside the ear canal and is connected to the hearing aid with a thin wire rather than by plastic tubing. Pros of this device are its small size, as it’s one of the least noticeable devices. Newer models are even made with connectivity in mind, and can be controlled and adjusted using a smartphone app. They also boast exceptional sound quality and power.
There aren’t a lot of cons with this device, unless you really don’t like the idea of part of the hearing aid being tucked away behind the ear. With this device, as with the BTE hearing aid, it can be a bit more challenging to use the phone.
In-the-Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids
ITE hearing devices house the entire hearing in a single, custom-made shell that sits in the outer ear. These devices can house a powerful battery, as well as a directional microphone, and exterior volume control. Another pro is that they’re easy to insert, and don’t present any problems when holding a phone to your ear.
Cons of this device is that they can be quite noticeable, sometimes even more so than BTE devices which can be hidden behind the ear or concealed with hair. Some ITE devices fill the entire outer ear and can be a bit bulky.
In-the-Canal (ITC) Hearing Aids
ITC hearing devices are made to fit into the ear canal itself. These custom molded devices sit in the ear canal opening, and people love them. They’re barely noticeable, and don’t take up any space in the outer ear. They still have a small volume control on the outside of the device.
The con of ITC devices is that you may have to deal with feedback, since the device is filling the opening of the ear canal. These devices are quite small, so they can also be a challenge to get in and require a steady hand to get them properly into place.
Completely-in-Canal (CIC) Hearing Aids
CIC hearing aids, as the name suggests, sit entirely within the ear canal. These hearing aids are tiny, and users love that they’re nearly invisible. There’s no need for directionality microphones since the outer ear is empty. The ear can fulfil its function as a natural funnel and help locate sounds.
Cons of this device is that it’s one of the most expensive on the market and can be quite difficult to insert. Changing batteries can be hard, and because of the small size, batteries are smaller and need to be changed more often.
Have you decided which hearing aid is right for you? Visit us at Preferred Hearing Centers to talk about your options and check out our leading hearing aid brands with programs and settings to match your hearing needs.