A Brief Overview on Hearing Aids and their Types

There is a widespread stigma associated with hearing loss or deafness along with the use of hearing aids, and more frequent that not this prevents an individual having hearing impairment to go ahead and seek help. These people are unaware of the fact that hearing impairment of deafness is not something one needs to be ashamed of. One should not let the society-made stigma forbid from living the life to the fullest. There are various discreet options which are tailor-made and can greatly enhance the quality of life for such people.

A hearing aid, a.k.a. deaf aid is a small electronic device that you wear either inside or behind the ear depending on the structure of the model. It is an amplifying device which improves the hearing capability of a partially deaf person. In order to enable the hearing capacity for a person with hearing loss, the hearing aid enables some of the sounds louder than usual; and hence letting the person communicate and participate in the day-to-day activities with ease. With the help of a hearing aid, the person deprived of hearing will be able to hear both in noisy and quiet environments. Hearing aid comprises of three basic but vital parts, such as – an amplifier, a speaker and a microphone. It receives and adapts to the sound via microphone, which then converts the sound waves to electrical signals and transmits them to the amplifier. What an amplifier does is, it magnifies the power of the electric signals and with the help of the speaker the sends them to the ear.

Various options and styles of the Hearing Aids

Nowadays, there are plenty of options and styles available for the hearing aids suited for every individual according to his/her preference and the severity of the deafness. All these types of hearing aids vary from each other with respect to size, cost, features and styles. Mentioned below are a few of the most common hearing aid styles and also the manufacturers keep designing smaller and smaller hearing aid devices so that they are almost completely invisible which is what is the popular demand currently. However, smaller the hearing aids less capable they are to deliver an improved hearing.

Behind-the-ear (BTE)

A BTE hearing aid comprises of a hard lightweight plastic casing which is hooked from the top of the ear and snuggles its way and rests at the back of the ear. The casing is available in various shades suiting every individual’s skin tone and a transparent tube consisting of wire connects the device to a customized ear mold which fits in the ear canal. There are two types of BTE hearing aid such as BTE-Open Fit and BTE-With Ear Mold. Both of these are quite similar when it comes to functioning except for the fact that the Open fit variant is smaller in size and more comfortable to wear.

In-the-canal (ITC)

An in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid device is tailor-made and manufactured to fit according to the shape and size of a person’s ear canal. This variant fits partially in the ear canal and can improve from mild to moderate hearing loss in people. It is less visible as compared to the other variants, but is more prone to earwax clogging the speaker

Completely-in-the-canal (CIC)

CIC hearing aid device is very similar to ITC hearing aid device in terms of functions but size wise it is smaller and more aesthetic. It is prescribed to people with mild to moderate hearing loss individuals and fit completely inside the ear canal. It the tinniest hearing aid device and abstains from picking up any wind or noise from the environment. CIC uses small batteries and therefore might be of inconvenience; also, it does not contain any extra special features like volume controls.

In-the-ear (ITE)

ITE hearing aid devices are bigger in size as compared to the ITC and CIC hearing aids. They are tailor-made in two variants – one that fills the outer ear (full shell) and the other that fill the jus the lower part of the ear (half shell). ITE hearing aid devices are customized to look as aesthetic as possible and also comfortable to wear. This variant uses a larger battery for long battery life which is preferred by most of the people with hearing impairment. This device is also susceptible to earwax clogging the speakers.

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