A Basic Guide to Hearing Aid Types

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A Basic Guide to Hearing Aid Types

Whether you have just been diagnosed with hearing impairment or have been living with it for years, you may want to learn more about the different types of hearing aids available on the market. Always take the time to understand the type of hearing aid you are looking at because there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to hearing devices.
Some types simply won’t work for particular hearing loss diagnosis so it would be a waste of time and money to even consider buying them. Here is a basic guide to hearing aid types so that you have a solid foundation when looking for a new hearing aid.
Understanding the Difference between Analogue and Digital Hearing Aids
The very first thing you should understand is that there is a vast difference between analogue and digital devices. An analogue hearing aid merely amplifies sound (makes it louder) so that you can hear better in some situations. The types of hearing loss they can aid are more limited than digital devices.
Many digital hearing aids, on the other hand, are able to be customised to environmental variables. For example, they can be set for optimal performance in a noisy restaurant or for quiet enjoyment at home. The reason for this is that digital hearing aids are really tiny, little computers that process the sounds around you whilst analogue hearing aids simply transmit and amplify sounds as electrical impulses.
Defining Hearing Aid Types by How They Are Worn
When we picture hearing aids, most of us picture what is referred to as behind the ear (BTE). These are the most traditional types of hearing aids and are visible as a box that rests behind the ear. However, in recent years with advances in technology, many hearing aids are virtually invisible to the eye. Here is a brief explanation of the different types of hearing aids defined by how they are worn:
Behind the Ear – Most often referred to as simply BTE, this type of device has an earmould which is fitted to the ear. There are also models that are called ‘open ear fittings’ that utilise a smaller earpiece that is less conspicuous. Unfortunately, the open ear fitting is only suitable for mild hearing impairment. 
In the Ear – Here again, professionals refer to this type of hearing aid by the initials ITE. These are meant to be fitted entirely within the ear. The working mechanisms are in a tiny compartment within the earmould or sometimes even within the mould itself. Experience shows that these tend to need repair and/or maintenance more frequently than behind the ear hearing aids. 
Receiver in the Ear – RITE hearing aids are sometimes referred to as loudspeaker in the ear and are quite often similar to BTEs because part resides within the ear. Some types of RITE hearing aids use an earmould but for those who are not keen on awkward or ‘fiddly’ tasks, these are not an ideal choice. 
Body Worn – A body worn hearing aid has the working parts clipped onto one’s clothing or perhaps worn around the neck much like a necklace. These are extremely sophisticated devices and are less cumbersome than some of the BTE, ITE or RITE versions because the main workings are not located near the delicate ears. 
Completely in the Canal – Similar to ITE hearing devices, completely in the canal (CIC) hearing aids are much smaller and less visible. These are not suitable for those people who experience ear infections often or those with severe hearing impairment. 
Bone Conduction – Most often utilised by those with conductive hearing loss, bone conduction hearing aids are also worn by people who for some reason can’t wear the more conventional types. Sound is delivered via vibrations through bones in the skull.
By this time it should be apparent that the type of hearing aid worn depends on a number of factors. First and foremost, the type and severity of hearing impairment needs to be considered. Next would be the comfort and ease of use. It should also be considered if the hearing impaired person is subjected to a great number of environmental changes, such as going from a crowded and noisy workplace to a quiet meeting with clients.
Since there are so many variables, it is recommended that you heed the advice of your audiologist or physician. You may have several options, but for those with particular disorders, only one or two types of hearing aids may serve your needs. This is simply a basic guide to the different types of hearing aids. For the most accurate advice for your particular needs, always consult with a professional.
Bio: This basic guide to the different types of hearing aids was provided by Adam who enjoys researching in the field of hearing loss. To see examples of the hearing aids discussed above, visit www.yourhearing.co.uk.


About Thomsen Young
Thomsen Young is the founder of The Silent Grapevine.You can follow him +Thomsen Young or via Twitter @yadudesup.  You can also follow The Silent Grapevine via Twitter so you will never miss the latest news from The Silent Grapevine! If you like this post LIKE it and share it with your family and friends! 
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Thomsen Young

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