Figuring out which hearing aids are the best is sometimes difficult for new hearing-loss sufferers. It’s often hard to know what to consider first. Here is what you need to know about hearing aids, so along with your hearing clinician you can select the best option for you.
How Hearing Aids Work
The body relies on the central sensory cells within the auditory system to hear. Individual hair follicle cells in the inner ear pick up sound waves, translate them into electrical signals and send them to the brain to interpret. When something damages or kills off healthy receptor cells, they don’t regenerate, leaving remaining cells unable to detect, convert and send sound signals forward. Hearing aids contain tiny microphones to detect sound waves for you, amplifying the volume and their receivers send the noise into the inner ear canal. How and to what degree depends on the hearing aid used.
Hearing Aid Types
Hearing aids have specific features, comfort and adaptability-levels to consider when weighing which device is best. Here is a breakdown of the kinds of hearing aids used and which is best for certain types of hearing loss.
RIC or RITE( Receiver-In-the-Ear):
- These sit discreetly behind the ear with the receiver placed inside the ear canal.
- Near invisible, some styles only 15-24mm in size.
- Less plugged-ear sensation than other aides due to use of rubber domes in ear
- Best for all hearing loss levels
CIC (Completely In the Canal) or Traditional ITE (In-The-Ear):
- Concealed deep within the inner ear canal or in the outer ear.
- Limits phone, electronic feedback
- Small, omnidirectional microphone with less ambient noise sensitivity
- Creates clogged ear feeling
- Small batteries with less shelf life, power.
- Best for mild to moderate hearing loss
- Electrical parts enclosed in a plastic casing sit behind the ear.
- Sends sound through connective tubing between case and receiver placed in the ear canal.
- Better control over sound fluctuations.
- Larger size and telecoil make it easier to manipulate.
- Bigger battery with more power lasts longer.
- More visible
- Best for profound hearing loss
- Best for those with limited dexterity
Hearing Aid Performance
Every manufacture provides either 3 to 4 levels of hearing aid performance, starting from your basic, to advanced to premium technology. The level determines the price and the number of features available.
Not everyone requires a premium level. If your hearing loss is mild, you’re maybe retired, do not go out on many outings in a week, then a basic level hearing aid is probably a very good fit for you. The premium level is better suited to those with moderate to severe loss, are working full time and need to hear in meetings and presentations and/or are very social – attending clubs, restaurants, cafes and other gatherings/events three plus times a week.
Hearing Aid Features
Here are some key features hearing aid users find most helpful in their devices:
- Small sensors that wirelessly detect sounds coming from cell phones and P.A. systems.
- Particularly useful for moderate to extreme hearing loss.
- Directional Microphone:
- Rather than all sound hitting at once, it filters out side, or ambient noise, focusing on sounds closest to you. Helps hear, understand conversations better over other noise distractions.
- Feedback/DNR (Digital Noise Reduction):
- Feedback reduction limits high-pitch frequency feedback from phones and electronics.
- DNR features dampen noise in loud environments for better speech clarity/understanding.
- Wireless aids so the left and right hearing aid communicate with each other
- Wireless connectivity to stream phone calls and sounds from your phone or TV
- Smartphone Apps to control and fine tune the hearing aid to suit your environment (noisy café versus family dinner around the table)
To learn more about hearing aid brands, pricing, or treatment options, please Contact Us.
Our expert Audiologists can answer any questions or concerns and provide more in-depth information.