With the advent of the computer age, medical devices have become more dependent on electrical components. After many years, the hearing aid has become a miniature computer capable of amazing power and accuracy. These devices are available in many sizes and configurations.
Some are so small that they fit entirely in your ear canal. Others sit behind the ear and amplify sound through a tube running to your eardrum. Depending on the size, features include internet/wireless connections, volume controls and more.
Styles of Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are available in many different sizes and styles thanks to advancements in digital technology and miniaturization of the internal components. Many of today's hearing aids are considered sleek, compact and innovative – offering solutions to a wide range of hearing aid wearers.
Here are the basic hearing aid styles and uses:
- In the ear (ITE): ITE hearing aids are powerful and offer many features but not ideal for everyone. The ITE is an electric amplifier in an earmold that fits the outer ear.
- Invisible in canal (IIC): IIC hearing devices are the smallest and lightest available. They are recommended for moderate hearing loss, but not every patient can use these.
- Completely in canal (CIC): CIC aids are slightly larger than IIC but remain small and powerful, and nearly invisible.
- Full-shell ITE: A full shell is an earmold custom made to fit the outer ear. The electronics and battery are inserted in the shell and use electronics specifically designed for each patient.
- Behind the ear (BTE): Sometimes, it is necessary to put the electronics and battery in a compartment that sits behind the ear. In this device, a tube runs to the amplifier in the ear canal. The controls and battery are easier to use than smaller devices.
- Receiver in the ear (RITE): RITE hearing aids offer a smaller behind the ear electronics package because the sound receiver is in the ear canal. These devices are recommended for mild to severe hearing loss.
Damage to hearing by loud and concussive noise is one of the main reasons for loss of hearing. The world is noisier than ever and loud venues proliferate. Hear protection is one way to reduce hearing loss.
Hearing protection products include earphones, earplugs and combination specialty products for various uses. One of the best ways to ensure proper protection fitting is to have custom molds made of your ears. An earplug that is made for your ear will stay in place and fully protect your hearing.
- Earplugs and earmolds for hunting: Designed to protect hunters from the damaging impacts of rounds fired.
- Earplugs and earmolds for music: Designed to optimize the musician’s experience by filtering out the damaging sounds, but allowing the music to reach the wearer.
- Earplugs and earmolds for swimming: Designed to stop water from entering the ears while swimming. Available in options that float, making them easy to keep track of.
- iCustom: Designed for use with any type of earbud or button-style earphones.
- DefendEar 1: Designed to amplify during situational awareness, but still block out damaging sounds.
- DefendEar 2: Optimized for intermittent or continuous shots.
- DefendEar Hunter: Provides standard digital features and also functions optimally in wind.
Hearing Aid Products and Accessories by Manufacturer
Susan Rogan Hearing offers the finest and widest selection of hearing aids available. Here are some manufacturers:
Oticon offers a full range of hearing aid products for all hearing loss types. Oticon wants to change technology, conventions and lives with innovative solutions for better hearing in all environments.
Phonak produces hearing aids for all types of hearing problems. The company is continually innovating. At Phonak, “life is on.”
ReSound specializes in connected hearing devices that bring better sound from smartphones, televisions and other devices. ReSound’s line of rechargeable hearing aids puts intuitive technology at your fingertips.
Signia products “make life sound brilliant.” Many customers find that Signia lives up to the motto: “hear what matters to you.”
Starkey offers leading-edge technology in every hearing aid size from the smallest to largest. “Better hearing leads to better living.”
Unitron products optimize sounds and enhance conversations. The company features FLEX, an innovative program that allows trial and error use of products over time.
Widex combines technology, innovation and great styles for cutting edge hearing aid products. Widex wants to make products that are “intelligent today, smarter tomorrow.”