Hearing aids have come a long way in recent years. Gone are the clunky, obtrusive, unreliable models our grandparents (and parents) had to contend with. Today’s instruments are tiny and sleek, with an impressive array of features and unparalleled sound quality. At Lake Grove ENT, PC we have the latest computer equipment available for fitting and programming hearing aids. Our audiologists are trained in many brands of hearing aids, so they will be able to recommend an instrument that will best meet your particular pattern of hearing loss and listening needs.
All hearing aids fill the same basic need: they amplify sounds so those with a hearing loss are able to hear more clearly and communicate with others. But that’s where the similarities end. Today’s digital devices are available in a range of sizes and styles and can be worn externally, or placed within the ear canals to render them virtually invisible. The type of hearing aid you choose will depend on your lifestyle needs, degree of hearing loss, and cosmetic preference.
The various types of hearing aids are:
Invisible In The Canal (IIC)
IIC devices fit very deeply in the ear canals. They cannot be seen by others. While they require less amplification and have excellent sound quality, their deep placement makes them prone to damage from earwax. People with mild to moderate hearing loss can use these.
Completely In The Canal (CIC)
CIC instruments are custom molded and placed inside your ear canals, making them very difficult for others to see. Their small size means they don’t need a lot of power to operate. A good choice for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
In The Canal (ITC)
ITC units are custom molded and rest inside the ear canal, but not as deeply as CIC instruments. They are fairly unobtrusive and include features not available on CIC hearing aids, however they may not fit in smaller ears. They work well for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Receiver In The Ear (RITE)
While they are visible to others, they are easier to insert and remove, and feature longer battery life. The hearing aid sits behind the ear sends signals to the receiver, placed in the ear canal.
Behind The Ear (BTE)
BTE units are the most popular and universal devices on the market today. The hearing aid sits behind the ear sends signals to the receiver, placed in the ear canal. They are the largest and most visible hearing aid, but offer excellent amplification and ease of use, and won’t sustain damage from earwax or moisture. An excellent choice for all types of hearing loss, and ideal for children.
Open Fit instruments also rest behind the ear, but they are smaller, and the ear canals are left mostly open, making them a powerful, less visible choice. However, they tend to be prone to feedback issues and low frequency noise leakage, so those with mild to moderate hearing loss in the high frequency range will benefit most.
CROS (Contralateral Routing of Signal) utilizes a device similar to a hearing aid to help people with unilateral hearing loss or single-sided deafness detect sounds more easily. A microphone in the device worn in your impaired ear picks up sound and transmits it to another device worn in your unaffected ear. CROS systems are recommended for those with normal hearing in one ear and hearing loss that won’t benefit from use of a traditional hearing aid in the other.
BiCROS is similar in concept. A BiCROS is designed for those with little or no hearing in one ear and some degree of hearing loss in the other ear. The device worn in the ear with better hearing is a fully functioning hearing aid that also serves to receive the sound transmitted from the CROS device worn in the ear with little or no hearing.
Call 503-699-0370 for more information or to schedule an appointment.