The technology within hearing aids nowadays, has become so advanced and successful in satisfying people’s daily hearing needs it can be difficult to compare technology. Many people ask UK Hearing Care, “So, what is the best hearing system?” until we have looked at your own individual hearing needs and personal requirements it is impossible to give an answer.
At UK Hearing Care, we are totally independent and therefore are able to choose from all the hearing aid manufactures to compare on your behalf the technologies available. The question to be asking and one that we prefer to answer is, “What is the best hearing system for me?” In order to gain this golden answer, we must first find out the cause of your hearing loss, the degree of your hearing loss, how this affect you in your daily life and interaction with others and of course understand your lifestyle requirements. These steps are vital to take when finding the right hearing system for you, and one in which your UK Hearing Care Audiologist will take you through every step of the way.
Well size does matter… There is an old adage that “the best hearing aid in the world is the one you’ll wear” and this is very true. Recent advances have enabled manufacturers to add technologies to tiny hearing aids that eliminate many of the problems associated with these highly cosmetic fittings, but unfortunately less in size often means more in price. At UK Hearing Care our approach is different, within a chosen technology we charge the same for an aid whether it fits behind your ear or right inside your ear canal.
BTE aids consist of a case, a tube and an ear mould. The case sits behind the ear with the tube coming down the front into the ear mould. The case contains the amplification system. BTE aids can be used for slight to profound hearing losses and can be connected to assistive listening devices, such as FM systems.
The Open revolution has made wearing a hearing aid more comfortable for many people. At a first glance these devices look similar to a BTE aid. There is however one crucial difference: The ear mould is replaced with an open dome that does not block or occlude the ear canal. A recent development of the open style is RIC where the receiver, the speaker, is situated in the ear canal. These hearing aids are also highly cosmetic, often being much less visible than a custom aid. There are some advantages with this approach: Firstly, the sound of the hearing aid is arguably smoother than that of a traditional BTE hearing aid. With a RIC hearing aid, the receiver is right in the ear canal and the amplified output of the hearing aid does not need to be pushed through an acoustic tube to the ear mould and is therefore has less distortion. Secondly, RIC hearing aids can typically be made with a very small case behind-the-ear and the wire connecting the hearing aid and the receiver is extremely inconspicuous. Thirdly, RIC devices are suited to “open fit” technology so they can be fitted without plugging up the ear, offering relief from occlusion.
ITE hearing aids are suitable for slight to more severe hearing losses and as such offer the hearing aid audiologist a flexible way of fitting many people. They fit the Full Concha of the ear and are often referred to as Full Shell aids. Generally this style of aid is chosen where the hearing loss requires more power than can be provided by a smaller fitting or in the case of some companies as a way to reduce the price.
ITC aids are smaller, filling only the bottom half of the external ear and are less visible than an ITE aid. These aids are intended for slight to moderate losses and represent the most popular choice for people when it comes to choosing a custom hearing aid. The ear bowl is left more open and so can perform its function of collecting sound more easily resulting in a more natural fitting.
As the name suggests these tiny aids fit completely in the ear canal and are not visible unless you were to look directly into the ear. They are often made with dark face plates to mimic that part of the ear being in shadow. The size of these aids does lead to some limitations in respect of directional microphones, venting size and battery life and they need to be carefully considered by your Hearing Aid Audiologist to make a decision as to suitability. Where indicated these aids represent a highly cosmetic and comfortable fitting.
A recent addition to the range of custom aids is the IIC. The IIC is made from a very deep impression which requires additional training for the Hearing Aid Audiologist and are suitable only for Slight and Moderate hearing losses and where the ear canal is of the right size and shape. Your UK Hearing Care Audiologist can advise you following a simple ear examination.
With all the different hearing aid brands and models available, you can feel lost doing research. Some people have even delayed getting hearing aids because of “information overload”. UK Hearing Care has vast experience assisting people with their hearing difficulties, we recommend you let us help find the right solution for you.