With today's advanced technology, there are more options than ever when it comes to finding hearing aids. AccuQuest offers eight different varieties: Invisible-In-Canal (IIC), In-The-Canal (ITC), In-The-Ear (ITE), Receive-In-Canal (RIC), Behind-The-Ear (BTE) and Completely-In-The-Canal (CIC). Follow this guide to find out which hearing aid may be right for you:
How active is your lifestyle?
Depending on what you do for a living and how you spend your days, you'll experience varying levels of background noises. If you've been suffering from hearing loss for years, you may be surprised just how loud those sounds can be once you start using a hearing aid. The Better Hearing Institute defines problematic background noise as any noise that inhibits your ability to understand, hear or focus. Evaluating the prevalence of this in your life is important when choosing a hearing aid because certain devices may manage those sounds better than others. For example, if you live a quiet, retired lifestyle or work in an office, IIC and CIC may be sufficient for your hearing needs.
If you work at a construction site, frequently drive in busy traffic or are often surrounded by music, you'll probably need a full-featured, digital device. Upgraded technology found in hearing aids such as ITC, ITE, RIC and BTE will help manage those noises more efficiently than other models.
What is your hearing loss level?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hearing loss levels range between mild, moderate, severe and profound. To give you a sense of comparison, those with mild hearing loss typically have difficulty hearing soft sounds. People with profound hearing loss usually only hear very loud sounds and cannot hear speech at all. An evaluation with an audiologist or hearing health professional can provide you with a clearer understanding of your level of hearing loss. Those with profound hearing loss may benefit from RIC, BTE or ITE hearing aids. These particular devices are the most proficient at amplifying sounds.
How important is control?
The world of hearing aids is constantly evolving, and more advanced models can offer you optimum control. For example, are you frequently on the phone or in the car? The RIC, BTE, ITE and ITC Bluetooth and iPhone connectivity and control capabilities may be best suited for your busy lifestyle.
How important is convenience?
As with most medical devices, some level of care is required to properly maintain hearing aids. Not only do they need to be protected from exposure to moisture and regularly cleaned, but hearing-aid users must also confirm that they are working properly. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association estimates that batteries last one to two weeks. Therefore, it's important routinely change the batteries and perform hearing checks.
Most hearing-aid users typically find that RIC, BTE, ITE and ITC are the easiest to maintain. However, regardless of which hearing aid you use, your audiologist will give you a comprehensive explanation on how to properly care for the device.
How important is appearance?
Many people with hearing loss avoid learning more about these devices in fear that the hearing aids will be visibly obtrusive. Fortunately, with the significant advancement of hearing aid technology, many of our devices are completely undetectable. If the appearance of the hearing aid is important and you want it to be less visible, then you may benefit from a CIC, RIC or IIC hearing aid. These devices fit discreetly in the ear canal. However, if appearance is not a concern for you, any of the hearing aids would fit your purpose as far as appearance goes.
If you are concerned about hearing loss, for yourself or someone important to you, the audiologists and hearing health care professionals at AccuQuest can help. Contact your local AccuQuest Hearing Center to schedule a hearing test and consultation.
If you want to learn more about how your hearing works, hearing loss and hearing aids, how hearing aids work or why it is a good idea to see an audiologist or hearing health care professional, click here to view and download your own copy of AccuQuest's Journey to Better Hearing.