If you need a hearing aid, you may be confused by the many choices available. Here is a brief description of the main types of hearing aids.
There are three main types of hearing aids offered today:
1. Behind-the-ear (BTE) versions have a small plastic casing that fits behind the ear and a thin opaque tube that runs around the front of the ear into the ear canal. Sound passes either through tubing directly into the ear canal or through a wire and speaker positioned in the ear canal. Because they tend to be more durable than other types, these hearing aides are considered to be good choices for children.
Within the BTE versions are a number of sub-categories: 1) Over-the-ear (OTE) open fit hearing aids are unique in that the bud or dome that fits on the end of the tube and sits inside the ear canal has holes in it. They are called “”open fit” because they do not plug up the ear canal completely. Rather they allow ambient sound to enter the hearing aid at the same time that the amplification is occurring, for a better listening experience. 2) OTE hearing aids that have the speaker (or receiver) in the ear canal itself. These hearing aids are useful for those with a predominantly low frequency hearing loss.
2. In-the-ear (ITE) aids fit half-way into the ear canal. A part of the hearing aid may sit just outside the ear canal or in the outer portion of the ear bowl. Those that fit in the ear bowl require a custom mold. These hearing aids are generally not recommended for children because they would have to be replaced as the child grows. Sometimes wearers of ITE aids have problems with feedback and wind noise.
3. In-the-canal (ITC) aids fit in the opening of the ear canal rather than the outer portion. Those who wear ITC aids may also have problems with feedback. ICE aids can also get damaged by ear wax and drainage.
4. Completely-in-the-ear (CIC) are generally not visible. This type of aid can also be damaged by ear wax but it is not subjected to problems by wind noise. Some CIC aids with feedback cancellation can be used with headphones, unlike other models.
Hearing aids are also available in analog and digital versions, although most manufacturers do not make analog hearing aids any more. Digital models use a computer chip to convert sound into digital code, which adjusted to the wearers needs.
Digital aids generally cost between $1,300 and $3,500 each from an audiologist. The same or similar quality hearing aids can be purchased online for less than $1,000.
Unfortunately, most insurance policies do not cover the cost of purchasing new hearing aids.
The Lions Clubs, the Knights of Columbus and some veteran’s organizations can help those in financial difficulties to get used hearing aids.
Wearing a hearing aid requires adjustment. Be sure the provider allows an adjustment period so that you can return it and get a refund within a reasonable amount of time.
In selecting an aid, the last thing you should consider is the appearance. Instead choose the one that helps you to hear the best. An audiologist will make recommendations as to the best type for you. It is also important to consider your activity level and how much dexterity you need to properly insert and adjust the aid.
If you choose not to buy your hearing aid from an audiologist, make sure you purchase from a reputable company. If you go online for the hearing aid, usually those companies that are listed on the first three pages of the search results are reputable as they have been in business a long time.
Hearing aids are important tools for many people to stay in touch with the world. It is essential to pick the best one based on your comfort, your hearing needs, and your pocketbook.
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Hearing Central LLC, an Illinois company committed to bringing you the best quality hearing aids at wholesale prices. Their hearing aids are Made in the America according to the strictest standards of the FDA. HearingAidsCentral carries a full line of open fit in the canal aids as well as digital hearing aids.
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