Hearing aids have been around in one form or another for over a century. There are different types of hearing loss according to not only the severity degree but also the cause. In general, there is conductive hearing loss resulting from the inability of the middle or outer ear to conduct noise, and sensorineural hearing loss that stems from missing or damaged cochlea hair cells as a result of loud noise, head trauma, or aging.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of having damaged inner and outer middle ear, combining sensorineural and conductive hearing deficits, and with neural hearing loss – usual hearing aids don’t work because there is damage to the auditory nerves.
If you have consulted a health specialist and you are a candidate for using hearing aids, the choice of hearing aids is abundant. We prepared a guideline consisting of the most common types of hearing aids with explanations of their pros and cons and how they work.
How Hearing Aids Work
Nowadays, top-ranking brand products like Unitron hearing aids can provide you with a more comprehensive choice of hearing aids, because not all of them are the same. There are hearing aids with their receiver positioned in the canal known as RIC, those made to be invisible and put in the ear canal, or IIC, and hearing aids placed in the outer canal of the ear.
Your factors for choosing a hearing aid must include your particular type of hearing loss, as there are plenty of options to choose from on the earpiece styling front. In general, hearing aids should have fine adjustment settings and initial adjustment of the device itself to make adapting to new sounds easier.
1. Behind The Ear
Hearing aids worn behind the ear include a case that hangs behind the ear auricle and connects with a tube or wire to the earmold. The dome tip or earmold connects to the external auditory canal, making behind-the-ear hearing devices a versatile option that you can use for virtually any type of hearing loss.
2. In The Ear
Usually, in-the-ear devices are easier to insert and can hold more features due to their size. In-the-ear pieces are most often used for mild to moderately severe hearing loss because the audio feedback loop can cause high-frequency sounds to leak and get re-amplified, causing squealing or whistling noises.
3. In The Canal
While in-the-ear pieces are easily visible when talking or looking directly at the person wearing them, in-the-canal hearing aids are constructed not to be visible unless you look directly in the wearer’s ear. The in-ear canal positioning of the device prevents noise from the wind but is still not recommended for people with good high-pitch sound hearing.
4. Completely in The Canal
The completely in the canal or invisible in-canal hearing aids have a design specified to leave no visible trace of a hearing aid. After taking a mold from the wearer’s ear, the aid shell is modeled and tailored to fit comfortably in the ear canal.
Due to being placed deeper and having a better fit than most other hearing aid types, the completely-in-the-canal aids also use venting to provide a better hearing experience. This type of hearing aids does not occlude the ear, and they are therefore able to collect sound more naturally unimpeded by the shape of the ear.
5. Smart Hearing Aids
Smart hearing aids have self-learning features and can automatically adjust to adapt to the circumstances. The frequency range extends better than other hearing aids, and with better frequency shifting, this type of hearing aids eliminate acoustic whistling and make more effective use of directional microphones. The selective amplification features support speech recognition and noise reduction.
6. Cochlear Implants
Usually considered the last resort, cochlear implants are a permanent solution for sensorineural hearing loss. Surgically implanted, cochlear implants bypass and replace acoustic hearing with electric signals stimulating the auditory nerve.
Cochlear implants require a surgical operation under general anesthesia, and doctors most commonly recommend them for children or prelingually deaf people. Auditory brainstem implants can provide the sense of sound to people who have neurofibromatosis type 2 and tumors in the nerve sheath conducting information from the inner ear to the brain.
No matter the intensity of the problem, modern technology always has a solution. Whether you or someone close to you needs a hearing aid, there is a wide variety to choose from nowadays.
Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent, but whichever the case, no one should suffer and refrain from their usual activities when there are abundant and satisfactory solutions. Choose the best hearing aid option and continue participating in life at the volume of your choice.