Which Type of Hearing Aid is Best for You?

If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss, you may be considering getting a hearing aid to help you hear better. With so many different types and brands of hearing aids available, how do you know which one is right for you? Here’s a guide to the different types of hearing aids and factors to consider when choosing the best hearing aid for your needs.

Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are one of the most common types of hearing aids. As the name suggests, they fit behind your ear and connect to a plastic earpiece inside your ear canal via tubing. The main components of the hearing aid sit in a case that rests behind the outer ear.

BTE hearing aids are suitable for people with mild to profound hearing loss. They come in a range of sizes and can accommodate different features. BTE hearing aids are easy to adjust as the controls are on the case behind the ear. They are also durable, long-lasting, and easy to clean. However, the tubing and earpiece can feel uncomfortable for some.

In-the-Ear Hearing Aids

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids fit completely inside your outer ear. All the components are contained in a shell that fits in the bowl of your ear. ITE hearing aids come in three sizes – full shell, half shell and mini canal. Full shell aids fill the entire outer ear, while mini canal aids are the smallest and sit deeper in the ear canal.

ITE hearing aids are suitable for mild to severe hearing losses. As they’re custom-made, they provide a comfortable, natural fit. They’re also easy to use, as controls are on the faceplate. However, they can be tricky to adjust or replace as they sit deeper in the ear. They’re also not suitable for children as their ears are still growing.

Receiver-in-Canal Hearing Aids

Receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids, also known as receiver-in-the-ear (RITE), are similar to BTE aids but are nearly invisible when worn. The receiver, which is the part that processes the sounds, is housed in a tiny casing that fits inside the ear canal. This is connected by almost invisible tubing to a tiny behind-the-ear component.

RIC hearing aids are discreet and comfortable to wear. The small component behind the ear is easy to control. As the receiver is custom-fitted, they produce very natural sounding audio. RIC aids can accommodate different levels of hearing loss. However, the small receiver can be fiddly for some to insert and remove.

Compare Hearing Aids

Some of the top hearing aid brands in the UK include Oticon, Phonak, Signia, Widex, and Resound. When you compare hearing aid brands, look at:

  • Technology – Does the brand offer the latest features like Bluetooth connectivity or rechargeable batteries?
  • Programming – Can the audiologist easily adjust settings and create custom profiles?
  • Comfort – Do they offer discreet, comfortable styles suitable for your ears?
  • Durability – Will the hearing aids stand wear and tear? Look for water, dust, and crack resistance.
  • Customer service – What warranties and aftercare does the brand provide? Can you trial hearing aids?

It’s a good idea to book free consultations with audiologists to test different brands of hearing aids. Tell them about your lifestyle and needs so they can recommend the best brand and model for you. Be wary of big price variations between clinics for the same hearing aid – this could indicate extra fees rather than the cost of the device. Many people opt to see an audiologist and then compare hearing aids online for the best deal.

With some research and expert guidance, you’re sure to find comfortable, adjustable hearing aids to suit your needs and enhance your hearing. Try different types and brands to discover the perfect hearing aids for your lifestyle.

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