Hearing Aids: What Types Are Available, and What They Do

Image by rabbitdanSo you’ve just had your hearing tested, and you have found out that you capacity to hear ...
So you’ve just had your hearing tested, and you have found out that you capacity to hear sounds accurately has somewhat diminished, resulting in you needing to wear a hearing aid in order to regain full use.
Don’t worry though – it’s certainly not the end of the world. A hearing aid can do a great deal for you, even making your hearing better than it has been for some time.
The act of actually getting a hearing aid, however, can be a rather confusing one. Sadly, there is no single “one size fits all” solution when it comes to those little pieces of audio magic – different models are better suited for different people.
It is important that you know all the options and which one will work best for you, before committing to buying one. We hope to provide you with all the knowledge you need in this article, so read on!

Digital or Analogue?

This is a pretty simple question to answer, but we’ll explain why just so you’re clear. You’ll want digital; here are the reasons why.
In appearance, there is little to discern between the analogue and the digital types. However, when you take a look at the workings, they couldn’t be any more different.
Analogue hearing aids simply amplify the sounds received, whereas digital models use computerised technology to turn the sound signals into data, amplify it, and then convert it back into a louder sound.
Though this might not sound particularly interesting, it gives you a clearer and more natural sound. Also, digital models can be customised – if you have a particular preference for certain situations, you can flip back and forth between pre-set modes. This can be useful when transitioning, say, from a quiet walk to a bustling nightclub.
Also – you know that high-pitched whistle of feedback you get with hearing aids? That doesn’t happen with digital ones.

Behind the Ear

Behind the ear models are made up of a mould that rests in your ear that connects to a bigger receiver, which sits snugly around the back of the ear. These are probably the ones that you’ll recognise the most, though they have changed a lot over the years and are no longer quite so prominent.

Receiver in the Ear

Somewhat smaller than behind the ear models, most of a RITE hearing aid sits inside the ear. They’re a bit less fiddly than ones which use a mould, but that comes at a price: they’re not as powerful. If you have a severe loss of hearing, steer clear.

In the Ear

Smaller again, in the ear hearing aids are just that: they fit entirely within the ear. The electronics are usually contained in a module that you’ll clip on to the mould, but sometimes they’re within the mould itself. These models need a bit more maintenance than the others.

Completely in the Canal

These are the absolute pinnacle of small: everything fits inside your ear canal. They’re almost invisible, but if you get a lot of ear infections, they’re probably not the best model for you.
Tom Rokins is a professional medical copywriter specialising in aural health. For more information on hearing aids, how they work and their technological development, you can read more here.

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