Time to Read: 10 minutes
Finding the best hearing aids can be difficult, and the process becomes more clouded when trying to determine the right price to pay for your hearings aids. Of course, the only answer to this dilemma is to educate yourself on the different types of hearing aids out there, finding out not only which are the best hearing aids, but what is a reasonable price for the quality of hearing aids you’re after.
Finding the Best Hearing Aids by Type
- ITE—In The Ear Hearing Aids
- ITC—In The Canal Hearing Aids
- CIC—Completely In The Canal Hearing Aids
- IIC— Invisible In The Canal Hearing Aids
- BTE—Behind The Ear Hearing Aids
- RITE / RIC—Receiver In The Ear/ Receiver in The Canal Hearing Aids
- Cochlear Implants
- BAHA—Bone Anchored Hearing Aids
- Getting the Lowest Hearing Aid Prices
To help you choose between the many different styles and types of hearing aids that are out there, here is a brief overview of each:
- ITE—In The Ear Hearing Aids. If you have moderate to severe hearing loss, ITEs are a definite option, but might not be the most popular one. What it gives in battery life and Power, it takes away from in visibility. ITEs sit right inside the bowl of your ear, but they are large, making them highly visible. Still, many people prefer ITEs because they have a longer battery life, perfect for those who might forget to charge or change their batteries. They are also very easy to use on the phone as the microphone lines up perfectly with the phone speaker when used naturally.
- ITC—In The Canal Hearing Aids. While these hearing aids are only adequate to make up for mild to moderately severe hearing loss, those who can use them often consider these some of the best hearing aids on the market. The ITC is custom fit to your ear canal's size and shape. Since it rests inside of the ear canal, it is extremely hard for others to notice it, unless they are looking for it. Still, this small size does have its drawbacks in that it may be difficult to adjust the volume. To solve this problem, some types of hearing aids come with remote controls so that you can change the settings on an ITC without fiddling around in your ear. These hearing aids are also very easy to use on the phone as with ITE’s.
- CIC—Completely In The Canal Hearing Aids. Being smaller and having smaller parts and batteries, CIC’s are only suitable mild to moderate hearing loss. The CIC is much smaller than its cousin, the ITCS. CICs cannot be removed with your fingers because they are that small—instead, you simply pull on a wire that is attached to the hearing aid and it pops out. CIC is true to its name—it is completely inside of your ear canal, making it almost completely invisible except when you stand just right and look inside someone’s ear canal. Still, the small size has drawbacks in that it tends to be less reliable due to the heat and moisture surrounding it when placed in the ear. It also cannot be fitted with Directional microphones like its larger siblings, so tends not to work as well in background noise. Your compromise in features is made up for in size.
- IIC— Invisible In The Canal Hearing Aids. This is a new category of hearing aid made possible by the laser scanning of ear impressions and the computer aided design and 3D Printing of custom hearing aid shells. These are smaller than the CIC, but can fit mainly mild to moderate hearing loss. The person’s ear canal needs to be large enough to accommodate all the required electronics. It has the same limitations as the CIC, but they can truly be considered invisible in the ear if the ear canal they are fitted into is just right.
- BTE—Behind The Ear Hearing Aids. Made for every level and severity of hearing loss there is (from extremely mild to near deaf/profound), BTEs are encased in a compartment and sit right behind your ear. There is a tube that runs from the case to the inner ear which is called an earmould. The sound comes from the casing and travels through the earmould into your ear, making it extremely powerful thanks to its amplification power. BTEs are preferred for children because they can accommodate hearing loss that gets progressively worse as well as changes in ear size, meaning you won't have to keep buying upgrades. Unfortunately, this is a highly visible hearing aid and if it isn't fitted correctly, it can cause immense amounts of feedback, especially on older technology without great feedback cancellation. Luckily, there is a newer version of the BTE that is called “open fit.” The Open Fit BTE is super small and sits right behind the ear. A thin tube is attached to the hearing aid and leads down to the inside of your ear canal, which gives a great sound quality. This type is generally only indicated for Mid-to-High Frequency hearing loss as the tube diameter does not allow much low frequency amplification.
- RITE / RIC—Receiver In The Ear/ Receiver in The Canal Hearing Aids. Also made for every level and severity of hearing loss, these combine the cosmetics of the in the canal type hearing aids with the flexibility, Sound Quality and Power of the BTE hearing aids. These hearing aids consist of a small unit sitting behind your ear, coupled to your ear canal via a very fine wire. The speaker of the hearing aid sits inside your ear canal. Depending on the coupling to the ear, the aid can be open fit for milder losses to set up with a high Power Receiver for Profound loss, while retaining all the cosmetic benefits. There hearing aids are just large enough to contain technologies such as Excellent feedback cancellation (to stop whistling in open fits), Directional Microphones for better hearing in noise, Bluetooth capability for linking to your mobile phone as well as moisture resistance to enhance durability. These hearing aids are currently some of the most popular or the market.
- Cochlear Implants. These tiny electronic devices are surgically placed in the inner ear with an induction coil is implanted under the skin behind your ear and are most recommended for people with severe and profound hearing loss right up to deafness. Cochlear implants replace the damaged ear portions which cause hearing loss and deafness to directly stimulate your auditory nerve. These signals are then sent to the brain by the auditory nerve where they are interpreted as sound. They are generally indicated when hearing aids have been shown to be ineffective due to the severity of the loss.
- BAHA—Bone Anchored Hearing Aids. Transmitting the sound waves and vibrations from the outside environment directly to your inner ear canal through your skull, the BAHA is surgically attached to your bone right behind your ear. These sound vibrations bypass the middle ear, making it an ideal hearing solution for people with middle ear hearing loss or issues such as discharging ears.
When choosing the best types of hearing aids for your purposes, keep in mind whether your concern is cosmetics, where a CIC or IIC might be better suited or Power which is the domain of the BTE hearing aid or a mixture of small size and great features like the RITE /RIC style hearing aid. It is best to discuss this and your concerns regarding your hearing and possible solutions with an audiologist. They are trained to give you your best options, even when it is, not to do anything at the moment.
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