Hearing aid technology is advancing every day
Hearing aids have come a long way in the past decade as technology has advanced and the incidence of hearing loss has increased at the same time, but the concept of devices to assist in hearing has been around for hundreds of years.
Starting with the ear trumpet in the 17th century, hearing aid technology has gone through several major phases, including the rise of electronic hearing aids in the 1890s, the development of transistor hearing aids in the 1940s, to finally the hearing aids we know and love today – digital hearing aids.
One of the greatest advancements in hearing aid technology is the development of different kinds of hearing aid devices to support different hearing needs. Today, there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to hearing aids, and hearing care providers are able to prescribe different device types depending on the unique case.
While a hearing care specialist is the only person that can really help you decide which hearing aid is right for you, it’s important to understand the various types of hearing aids and what makes them different.
Different types of hearing aids
Based on the results of your hearing test and ear exam, your provider may prescribe hearing aids to make sure you can hear your best. The specific kind of device prescribed, however, may differ depending on your level of hearing loss, your lifestyle, and even the cause of your hearing loss.
There are seven main styles of hearing aid devices we produce here at Beltone, including:
Invisible in the Canal (IIC)
IIC hearing aids are the most discreet devices because they are small enough to fit snugly in your ear canal to remain almost completely hidden. These devices are often prescribed for those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss since their small size makes it hard to pack a lot of punch when it comes to hearing support.
Behind the Ear (BTE)
BTE hearing aids wrap over the top of your ear and sit behind it with a small tube connecting the device to your inner ear. These are a very common style of hearing aid (and probably what you envision when you think of hearing aids) and are a great option for folks of any age and hearing loss level.
Receiver in the Ear (RITE)
RITE hearing aids are very similar to BTE devices, but the major difference is that the speaker that amplifies sound sits at the end of the tube that connects the device to the ear canal. Similar to BTE hearing aids, RITE devices are suitable for almost any case.
Mic in Helix (MIH)
The MIH-style hearing aid is one of the more customizable device options, making them extremely comfortable and suitable for all levels of hearing loss. These devices are molded to the shape of your ear, so the main part of the device sits right at the opening of the ear canal, and a tube connects the device to the microphone, which sits hidden in the curved groove of your outer ear.
Completely in the Canal (CIC) / In the Canal (ITC)
CIC and ITC hearing aids are similar to IIC devices in that they are very discreet and are most often prescribed in cases of mild-to-moderate hearing loss. The difference, however, is that CIC and ITC hearing aids can still be seen with the naked eye, even though the device sits mostly in your ear canal.
In the Ear (ITE)
ITE hearing aids are the best of both worlds for a lot of folks. They are molded to fit your unique ear shape, so they are very comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, but they are also on the larger side, so they can power a bigger receiver to support more severe cases of hearing loss.
How do I pick the right hearing aid for me?
When it’s time to start wearing hearing aids, your hearing care provider will work with you to understand your needs, preferences, lifestyle, and concerns and balance that information with the data from your hearing test to help you find the right hearing aid device for you.
Hearing loss can be isolating and sometimes even scary, but hearing aid technology is advancing every day, and better hearing is just a hearing test and a conversation away. Schedule your free hearing test with our team at Beltone Tristate to get started on your journey to better hearing.