Today's hearing aids are more diverse in size, shape, and function than the analog devices of the past. While some types of hearing aids are more popular than others, everyone has unique preferences and needs. It's important to choose a hearing aid that meets your personal expectations, cosmetic preferences and hearing loss. Here's a look at the styles of hearing aids available to patients today. We would be happy to demonstrate these technologically advanced digital devices for you at Audiology Innovations during a hearing aid consultation appointment.
BTE hearing aids account for more than 80% of all hearing aid sales in Largo, Florida, and across America. There are three basic types of hearing aid styles worn behind the ear.
Receiver-In-the-Canal (RIC)—RIC hearing aids are by far the most popular type of hearing aid. These devices combine the effectiveness and ease of use of BTE devices without blocking the entire ear canal. All BTE/RIC devices are programmed by your audiologist to amplify sounds within a certain range of frequencies. That way, other sounds that you don't struggle to hear can enter your ear without amplification, creating a much more natural listening experience. This type of hearing aid is best for people with high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss that's mild to moderate.
Receiver-In-The-Ear (RITE)—RITE devices are similar to traditional BTE hearing aids and also sit behind the ear. In these devices, though, the receiver is housed separately and sits in the bowl, or concha, of the ear. The two parts are connected by a tiny, thin wire. RITE hearing aids are smaller and more subtle than BTE devices. They work best for patients with mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
Behind-The-Ear—Traditional BTE hearing aids are versatile, easy to use, and helpful for patients with all levels of hearing loss. The devices are particularly popular with young children and seniors because they are simple to control and maintain. The electronic components in BTE hearing aids are housed in a small casing that rests behind the ear. Sound is directed into the ear canal via a thin, clear tube that arches over the top of the ear. BTEs are available in customizable skin tones as well as bright colors and patterns, so they’re great for any style.
ITE hearing aid styles are selected less often now than in past decades, but they are still are an option for many Largo hearing loss patients. Today, ITE styles account for about 1 in 5 hearing aid purchases. Your audiologist will help you determine whether one of the ITE styles is the best hearing aid for you.
Completely-In-the-Canal (CIC)—CIC hearing aids are some of the smallest hearing aids available, making them virtually undetectable. Since CIC devices rest deeply in the ear canal, they are able to utilize the ear’s natural shape for better directionality and sound localization. This type of hearing aid is effective for mild to moderate losses, though it’s important to keep in mind that CIC hearing aids offer fewer features and functions due to their size.
In-The-Canal (ITC)—ITC hearing aids are slightly smaller than ITE devices, but they can still be visible to others from the side. These devices are worn in the outer ear canal and are recommended for patients with mild to moderate hearing loss.
In-The-Ear—ITE hearing aids rest in the bowl-shaped section of the outer ear (concha), either fully or partially filling it depending on whether they're full-shell or half-shell earmolds. ITE devices are more visible than other types of hearing aids, but their size makes them easy to adjust. ITE hearing aids use large batteries, which last longer and are easier to insert, remove and clean. These devices can treat patients with all levels of hearing loss.
Even the most advanced hearing aid cannot restore damaged hearing. But ongoing research continues to uncover new discoveries. Advances in technology are happening constantly. Audiology Innovations alertly monitors these discoveries and advances, so you can benefit from the latest and best hearing aids available.
Different types and severities of hearing loss have led to the availability of a wide variety of instruments that can help you once again to hear life clearly.
Selecting the hearing aid system that best improves your hearing loss, lifestyle, and personality is an important decision. Both first-time and long-time wearers of hearing aids need also commit to a rehabilitation process, to be able to best assimilate your device into your daily life. The Audiology Innovations team is committed to the hearing needs of the greater Tampa Bay area. Contact us today.
Even with the best care, your hearing aids will likely need a few repairs over the course of their lifetime. Some hearing aid repairs are easy enough to do at home, though others may require the help of your professionals at Audiology Innovations.
By understanding the common causes for hearing aid malfunctions, you may be able to perform many hearing aid repairs yourself, even when you’re on the go! This knowledge can also help you determine when to see an audiologist in Largo for a repair. Here’s a look at some malfunctions you may encounter with your hearing aids and what solutions to try:
Weak sound or no sound
Quiet-sounding or nonfunctional hearing aids are often the result of a dead battery, clogged microphone, blocked speaker, or dirty wax guard/filter. If replacing the battery doesn't help resolve the problem, clean the microphone and speaker areas with a tool and replace the wax filter/guard if it's dirty or clogged.
Feedback, background noise or whistling
These issues can result from an earwax blockage in your canal or an improperly placed device. Before you attempt any repairs, try taking out and reinserting your hearing aid. If this doesn’t work, clean the interior and exterior of your device with a dry cloth or cleaning tool.
Altered or distorted sound
First, make sure your hearing aid is set to “microphone” and not “telecoil.” If the setting is not the problem, this issue is probably related to your hearing device’s battery. You can try replacing the battery as well as carefully cleaning the battery’s surface along with the battery contacts and interior battery compartment with a dry cloth or cleaning tool.
If your hearing aid isn't working, and none of these quick troubleshooting tips help, please come visit us at Audiology Innovations. We will run tests, perform a professional cleaning and assess any problems we find. In some cases, we can repair the problem right at our clinic. Other times, we may need to send your hearing aid to the manufacturer for repair.
We are proud to be providers of the EarQ brand, which includes the best hearing aid warranty in the business, the EarQ Secure 4-Year Warranty. While most manufacturers can only provide a two or three year warranty, EarQ devices come with protection up to four years. The warranty also allows you to have your devices served at any EarQ provider, nationwide. Ask us about this during your appointment!
While we will service any brand, we primarily carry ReSound, Signia, EarQ, Widex, and Starkey.
Hearing aid accessories are a great tool for getting the most from your devices in every situation. Today’s digital hearing aids have so many available features and functions that can be fully utilized with the help of different types of hearing aid accessories. Whether you want to stay connected, improve your listening, or extend your hearing aids’ lifespan, talk with Audiology Innovations to determine which hearing aid accessories would be most beneficial to you.
Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)
Assistive listening devices are personal amplification systems that transmit sound directly to your ears in challenging listening environments. There are several different types of ALDs and other personal amplifiers including small portable microphone hearing aid accessories, FM systems and infrared systems. ALDs have two parts: one component, placed near the speaker or source of sound, contains a microphone and transmitter; the other component, which is worn near your ear, contains a receiver and speaker.
Cleaning Tools, Dehumidifiers and Filters
Keeping your hearing aids clean and maintained is the only way to ensure they continue working their best. Hearing aid cleaning tools and kits are available for all types of devices. Overnight dehumidifiers are also a great way to ensure your devices stay dry and protected from moisture in the environment as well as earwax and other potentially damaging substances. Your devices may also use disposable wax filters or guards, which sound be replaced once they become clogged to prevent sound distortion.
Hearing aid batteries are a necessity for all wearers, and you should always have several extra batteries on hand in different places. There are a few different sizes of hearing aid batteries available, and they are color coded to make it easy to remember which ones you should buy. Hearing aid batteries can be purchased online, at many drug stores and at your audiologist's office.
Wireless connectivity is very important in today’s technological world and hearing aids are no exception! Audiology Innovations has a wide variety of hearing aid accessories that allow you to connect to all of the devices important to your life, including your smartphone, TV, computer, in-car entertainment system, MP3 player and more.