Types of Hearing Aids

Can you hear me now?

Types of Hearing Aids

Hello? Hello? Can you hear me Grandma Janie? I feel like I’m shouting into the phone but Grandma doesn’t know that. In fact, she thinks I stepped away for the moment. I hang up in frustration and try again hoping she turns her hearing aid on. Maybe this time she will hear me better.

Hearing loss is not one of those fun things that people like to talk about. In fact, it’s probably one of the worst topics on the “look who’s getting old” list. It’s right up there with falling down and having to get hip replacement surgery. No one likes to bring it up to their loved ones and their loved ones would rather not deal with the reality of their declining hearing.

Many of us remember dealing with grandpa’s excessively loud T.V. programs blasting through the home during family visits. It was the era before some awesome genius invented headphones specifically for the hard of hearing so the rest of us could keep our hearing! You remember those days.

Luckily, today’s modern world has a variety of hearing aids to help alleviate the frustration caused by your loved one’s loss of hearing. Hearing aids have evolved tremendously over the past few years. No longer are hearing aids bulky of low quality but they are small, comfortable, and powerful devices that really do improve one’s quality of life. Here’s an overview of the different types of hearing aids.

Types of Hearing Aids

Completely-in-the-canal hearing aids are the smallest hearing aids and are the least noticeable. Because it is located within the ear canal there is less wind disturbance and virtually no feedback, making this a great option for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. The downside of having such a small device is the lack of features such as the ability to control the volume and the fact that the batteries don’t last as long as the larger hearing devices.

An in-the-canal hearing aid is a customized device the fits securely into the ear canal (but not as far in as the completely-in-the-canal aid). It is also very small making it less visible from outside disturbance. This is a great option for mild to moderate hearing loss as well.

A half-shell hearing aid is bigger than the in-the-canal hearing aid and sits right on the bottom section of your outer ear. Because the device is a little bit bigger, the battery life is longer and the ear device has features like volume control. This type of device is good for those who have mild hearing loss to somewhat severe hearing loss.

An in-the-ear full-shell hearing aid is a customized device which hangs over the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear. It is slightly bigger than the half-shell hearing aid and packs the same features as the half-shell with an easier interface for controlling volume and replacing batteries. Unfortunately, due to the size of the device, it does pick up some wind noise. This device is a great option for those with mild to severe hearing loss.

Behind-the-ear hearing devices are the largest of all the hearing devices. They are appropriate for all hearing levels and can transmit more amplified sounds from a wider range of frequencies.

Open fit hearing aids are a much smaller type of behind-the-ear hearing aids. It uses smaller batteries and does not have a complete plug into the ear. The concept of it being “open” means that the wearer’s ear canal remains open since the wearer can still hear low frequencies at a normal or near normal level. This type of device is good for mild to somewhat high frequency hearing loss.

So now, the next time grandpa reaches for the volume control you’ll be better prepared to tell him all about the advances that the industry has made. Here’s to you getting grandma and grandpa on a truly “I can hear you” frequency.

Senior Advisor's knowledgeable writers blog about senior care services, trends and more.

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