Hearing Aid Options and Recommendations
If your hearing assessment indicates that you would benefit from hearing aids, we will discuss with you the various options available.
Hearing aid technology is constantly evolving, modern hearing aids are small computers, constantly being refined and developed to provide better reproduction of natural human hearing.
When it comes to selecting appropriate hearing aids, the style best suited for you will depend upon your specific hearing loss, but also on your lifestyle and personal choice.
Different types of hearing aids include:
• Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) – this is the smallest hearing aid available and is almost invisible in the ear. These hearing aids are suitable only for people with ear canals large enough to accommodate the whole hearing aid. Used for mild to moderate hearing losses.
• In-the-canal (ITC) – this type of hearing aid is a bit larger than the CIC type. It is normally used in cases of mild to moderate hearing loss.
• In-the-Ear (ITE) ITE hearing aids are larger, and may offer more features. They also accommodate larger receivers. This hearing aid is easier to handle than CICs.
• Behind-the-Ear (BTE) These hearing aids are suitable for a wide range of hearing losses. Worn behind the ear, this design is still extremely discreet; indeed some of these BTE aids are very small.
• BTE aids are often used with a conventional earmould but (depending upon degree of hearing impairment) many can be used with open ear, slim-tube or thin wire technology instead.
Thin Tube BTE Aids
These hearing aids consist of a micro BTE unit which houses the multiple microphone array and the computer processor which ‘tunes' the sound to your specific hearing loss. The amplified signal is then sent to the speaker (receiver) which is also housed in the hearing aid unit. The amplified sound from the speaker is presented to your ear via a 1mm clear plastic tube (length determined by your ear), which contours to the ear's shape and enters the ear canal. At the end of this ‘slim tube' is a perforated soft silicone ‘dome' (again determined by the size of your ear) which locates the sound tube centrally in your ear.
The second type – Thin Wire – or Receiver in the Canal (RIC)
The main difference with this type of aid is that the speaker (receiver) of the hearing aid is not in the BTE unit, instead it is placed inside the ear canal of the user, also held in situ by a perforated silicone dome (or very small custom made earmould) and thin electrical wires replace the acoustic tube of the Thin Tube BTE aid.