A Hearing Aid Guide: The Differences Between Types and Styles
Choosing a hearing aid that’s best suited for you can be a nerve-racking challenge, whether you’re a newbie or have tested a few hearing devices over the years. How do you know what you really need with so many different types and styles of hearing aids available? Luckily, you don’t have to do it on your own. Ear Deals Hearing Aid Brokers are here to help you make one of the most important decisions you’ll ever take for your hearing health and overall wellbeing.
Let’s take a look at the types and styles of hearing aids currently available in Australia to get you one step closer to finding the perfect match!
From your work to your relationships and emotional well-being, hearing loss can greatly impact your life and how you view yourself. Picking the right hearing aid can make a world of difference. If you struggle with hearing loss, know you’re not alone. Around 3.6 million people suffer from hearing loss worldwide.
- One in six Australians are living with hearing loss.
With technological advances, the hearing aid market continues to evolve. There are a variety of excellent hearing aid brands on the market, and we understand that selecting the correct hearing device can be overwhelming. In fact, as hearing aid wearers, many of our team members have gone through the selection process themselves.
To help make your decision easier, we will discuss the differences between hearing aid types and styles available on the Australian market, so you’ve got all the information you need to make the right choice!
Types and Styles of Hearing Aids
When searching for a hearing aid, we highly recommend working with a hearing aid broker to get you the best deal on hearing aids available on the Australian market and ensure that you’re ending up with a device that truly suits your needs and preferences.
What the correct type of hearing device is for you depends on:
- Your hearing – The type and severeness of your hearing loss. To find the right hearing aid, having a comprehensive hearing test first is essential.
- Your level of dexterity – Or how well can you manage small devices? Modern hearing aids are tiny. Are you comfortable inserting them and changing batteries yourself?
- Your technology skills – How comfortable you are handling technology? Think, using a smartphone app to change hearing aid settings, taking calls or streaming music via Bluetooth.
- Your lifestyle – For example: Are you spending long hours in noisy environments or do you lead a quiet and reclusive life? Do you play team sports, cycle, swim etc. or aren’t at all physically active?
- Your budget – Hearing devices vary greatly in price. Make sure to check whether or not you’re eligible to receive Government-funded hearing aids via the Hearing Services Program.
Analog and digital hearing aids
Nowadays, all hearing aids are based on similar technology. They all have parts that are made to carry sounds from the environment into your ear and then amplify them. We do however differentiate between analog and digital devices. Most hearing aids are now digital and powered by a traditional or rechargeable battery.
Analog hearing aids
Digital hearing aids
|Analog hearing aids convert continuous sound waves into electrical signals and then make them louder – allowing you to hear better.
These hearing aids are typically less expensive and have simple, easy to use volume controls.
Many long-time hearing aid users prefer analog hearing aids simply because they are used to using them.
|Digital hearing aids convert sound waves into numerical codes, then amplify it to enable wearers to hear better.
These numerical codes include information about the direction, pitch and volume of sound. This means these devices can be made smaller and more discreet than ever before.
This type of hearing aid may cost more than an analog hearing aid, but the results are ever so powerful.
Hearing aids vary a great deal in price, size, special features and the way they’re placed in your ear. Whether you’re going with the analog or digital type of hearing aid, there are three main styles of hearing aids you will have to choose between and they differ in:
- Placement (in or on the ear)
- And how well they make the sound louder
In-the-canal (ITC) or In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids
Source: Bloom Hearing
ITCs sit inside your ear, which makes them hard to spot and the perfect option for people who want a discreet hearing aid. ITCs and ITEs can therefore help with mild to moderate hearing loss. In-the-canal hearing aids are made to fit your specific ear canal, are smaller and almost entirely hidden in your ear.
Their small size can be a benefit, but it may also make them harder to adjust and insert. If you suffer from arthritis or loss of dexterity you should keep this in mind. It also means that they might not be as powerful and could be missing some features that you would want. This means that this style of hearing aid isn’t ideal for children or adults who might have problems with very small devices.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids
As the name suggests, behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids sit in a hard plastic case behind your ear. A plastic ear mould fits inside the outer ear and directs sound to the ear. There are Mini BTEs that fit entirely behind your ear, with a narrow tube that goes inserted into your ear canal to keep earwax from building up. Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids usually work best for mild to severe hearing loss.
Receiver-in-canal (RIC) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) styles
Both receiver-in-canal (RIC) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) styles have a behind-the-ear component that connects to a receiver in the ear or ear canal with a tiny wire. These allow low-frequency sounds to enter the ear naturally and high-frequency sounds to be amplified through the hearing aid. RIC and RITE may be a good choice for people with mild to profound hearing loss.
If you’d like to speak to a hearing broker to learn more about suitable hearing aid types and styles, or to book a comprehensive hearing test, call us on 1300 010 064. Ear Deals Hearing Aid Broker services are free of charge and independent from hearing aid manufacturers, to guarantee you receive the level of service and care you deserve.