Hearing aids: How to choose the right one?
If you’re considering investing in hearing aids, naturally, you want to choose one that’s best for you. We compared different types of hearing aids so that you can pick, which features are the most important to you and would be best suited for your needs.
You might have many concerns at this point. What is it going to look like? Is it going to be noticeable? How comfortable will it be and will it actually make a difference? There are many options available to you that will relieve your anxiety around owning and wearing hearing aids.
The following list contains different types of hearing aids, varying in style, size, price, and other features. It starts from the least visible hearing aids that are best for those who want it to be less noticeable. However, hearing aids that offer the highest amplification are at the end of the list so choose carefully and consider both the size and power before making a purchase.
Completely in the canal (CIC)
A completely-in-the-canal hearing aid is specifically designed to fit your ear canal and it’s the smallest and the least visible hearing aid available. It’s best suited for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. However, this type of device is more likely to pick up external noise such as wind. They also often don’t have special features such as volume control or a microphone. Also, smaller batteries mean they will require more frequent charging.
In the canal (ITC)
An in-the-canal hearing aid offers a custom fit to your ear so it will be very comfortable. This type of device won’t be very visible compared to larger styles. It offers another great benefit of incorporating volume and memory controls, so it’s a good middle-ground option between larger more powerful styles and smaller less visible types that offer less control to the user. It’s great for those suffering from mild to moderate hearing loss.
In the ear (ITE)
An in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid is a customized device that fits around the outside of your ear. The ITE hearing aid is a larger device, so short battery life shouldn’t be an issue. It has features that smaller styles don’t have such as volume control. It might pick up more wind noise than smaller hearing aids. They are also made in two styles — one that fits all of the outer ear called full shell and one that only fits the lower half (half shell). They are suitable for people with mild to severe hear loss.
Behind the ear
A behind-the-ear (BTE) device is the most common style in the world. It’s the biggest hearing aid available so the device provides the user with longer battery life and more power. The BTE style is the least discreet out of all hearing aids as it attaches behind your ear. It is available in different sizes and the new mini designs can be customized to be barely visible.
Receiver in canal or receiver in the ear
A receiver-in-canal (RIC) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) hearing aids appear similar to the BTE devices with the receiver fitted in the ear canal. The difference is that a small wire instead of a tube connects it to the speaker or receiver behind the ear. They can also be smaller than the typical BTE devices so are a bit more discreet. It also comes with a bigger battery, which lasts longer. However, these devices are more prone to clogging from earwax. Orka One is a type of BTE device that offers a descreet, modern, and minimalistic design. This self-adaptive device reduces noise and enhances speech in a wide range of environments for your comfort. The amplification that the BTE range offers is also higher than other hearing aid styles. The BTE devices are suitable for people with virtually any type of hearing loss.
‘Open fit’ hearing aid is a device that doesn’t block the ears and allows natural sounds to pass through. It is similar to the BTE hearing aid with a very slim tube and a RIC or RITE device with a dome that sits in the ear. This style improves sound quality and reduces unnecessary noise (whistling) when used by people with more severe hearing loss.
Do this before buying hearing aids
Before even considering hearing aids as one of your options, visit a specialist and ask for their opinion. Some hearing losses are correctable by removing ear wax or treating an ear infection. Request a hearing test and seek a referral to an audiologist. They will help you choose a suitable hearing aid if you need one. Orka has a Remote Care service that allows you to make an appointment with an audiologist online. Orka also provides professional and expert online hearing tests for everyone.
Most hearing aids are offered on a trial basis so ask about it before your purchase so you can decide whether or not it’s the right fit for you. Also, don’t forget to check for the warranty of your new device that includes parts and labor. Make sure to do your research and go to a well-respected company for your device. Any misleading claims about devices correcting hearing loss or eliminating all background noise are false advertising that you shouldn’t trust.