HEARING AID STYLES & BRANDS
Though there are two basic types of hearing aids, they come in a variety of styles designed to treat different degrees and configurations of hearing loss. Most hearing aids are fully customizable, which ensures a proper fit and an optimal listening experience for wearers.
Hearing aids consist of the same components, but depending on the type and style, these components are placed differently on the device. The microphone picks up sound in the wearer’s environment, which is then sent to the amplifier, where it increases in volume. The power switch allows you to turn your hearing aid on and off. It is recommended to turn off your hearing aids when they are not in use. Most hearing aids have a battery compartment, usually located hear the power switch.
Depending on the style, certain hearing aids also have connecting tubes and earmolds, which deliver sound to your ears.
In-the-ear (ITE) Hearing Aids
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are worn inside the ear. All of the electrical components of ITE hearing aids are housed within one, custom-fit earmold. The earmold is customized to your ear when you visit us at Aspire Hearing. ITE hearing aids are designed to blend in with your skin color.
Invisible-in-canal (IIC) or completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids
IIC and CIC hearing aids are two different styles of ITE hearing aids. These two styles are the smallest and most invisible available on the market. Designed to sit deep in your ear canal, they are not noticeable when you have them in, which is perfect for people who want a more discreet device. These two styles are designed to treat mild to moderate hearing loss.
Because of their small size, IIC and CIC hearing aids may be difficult to control if wearers have dexterity issues. The small components might be challenging if the battery needs to be changed. Also, their placement within the ear canal makes them susceptible to more moisture or earwax damage.
In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids
ITC hearing aids come in two different options: full shell or half shell. Full shell ITC aids fill your ear bowl, while half shell ITC aids only fill half of the bowl. Due to their placement in your ear, ITC hearing aids are not as discreet as IIC or CIC styles, but they do offer a few more listening options. As they are larger than IIC or CIC hearing aids, ITC aids boast extra features such as directional microphones and easier manual controls.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids come in many different styles, depending on the manufacturer. Generally speaking, the electrical components of BTE hearing aids are housed in a plastic casing, worn over the back of the ear. A thin plastic tube feeds amplified sound to a custom earmold that is worn inside the ear canal. BTE hearing aids treat a wider range of degrees of hearing loss and are easier to control. For people who wear eyeglasses, BTE hearing aids may be inconvenient.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) with earmold
BTE hearing aids are general more versatile and powerful than ITE types. Manufacturers design BTE hearing aids in different styles, giving wearers different options. One major benefit of BTE hearing aids is the construction: the electronic components are housed in a plastic casing worn behind the ear, which means they are protected from earwax and moisture. BTE hearing aids provide a flexible fit and are easier to clean.
Mini BTE hearing aids are quite discreet, as the plastic casing draped over the ear is small and unnoticeable. This plastic casing can be personalized to match your hair and/or skin color, for added discretion. Mini BTE hearing aids are designed to treat mild to moderate hearing loss and provide a natural sound.
Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) or receiver-in-canal (RIC)
RITE and RIC hearing aids (as well as mini RITE and mini RIC hearing aids) are similar to BTE hearing aids, except the speaker is placed on the earmold worn inside your ear canal. The microphone and processor are found on the plastic casing worn behind the ear. This style facilitates easier repairs; if there is earwax or moisture damage, the speaker can be easily replaced.
HEARING AID BRANDS
Starkey Hearing Technologies
Based in Minnesota, Starkey is best known for the Halo 2 Made for iPhone hearing aid. The Halo 2 has won a number of awards for its innovation and design, including the 2017 SXSW Wearable Tech Prize and the 2017 Silver Edison Award. Halo 2 is a receiver-in-canal hearing aid, available in four different sizes.
ReSound is a Danish manufacturer of hearing aids, known for the LiNX Made for iPhone family and the ENZO 2. LiNX 3D is the latest Made for iPhone model from ReSound, designed with a new Smart Fit technology that allows better personalization, as well as fine-tuning through the cloud. ENZO 2 is designed for higher degrees of hearing loss.
Based in Denmark, Oticon is responsible for the ground-breaking open-sound hearing aid, OPN. While other hearing aids tend to narrow the cone of focus for wearers to experience sound, OPN is designed to open up the audio landscape. This provides a more natural listening experience, while empowering the brain to choose what to hear.
The Swiss manufacturer Phonak recently introduced the Audeo B-R, a fully rechargeable hearing aid with lithium-ion technology. As a rechargeable hearing aid, Audeo B-R requires an overnight charge for 24 hours of continuous hearing. This technology eliminates batteries and provides wearers with confident, natural sound all day.