Being hearing impaired is no fun. It often means missing out on meaningful conversations and being told that you’re speaking way too loudly—that is, if you don’t find yourself screaming just to hear your own voice. But hearing aid technology has come a long way since the iconic ear trumpet. Today, people with hearing loss (and even tinnitus) can wear hearing aid devices that are so small they are virtually invisible and so comfortable they may forget they’re wearing them entirely. An impressive 95 percent of hearing impaired patients can be helped thanks to these hearing aids. Here are a few types of these top-of-the-line gadgets.
In-the-Ear Hearing Aids
These are the smallest and most discreet hearing aids available. The devices fit completely inside the ear, making them nearly impossible to see. Certain brands of in-the-ear hearing aids, like Lyric devices, can even be worn 24 hours a day, seven days a week for extended periods of time, which means that the wearer can put them in and then forget about them until he or she needs to replace the battery. These devices are customized to the shape of the wearer’s ear and lightweight for added comfort. They come in various sizes depending on the severity of hearing loss, ear canal size, and the manual dexterity of the wearer.
Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids
While still discreet, behind-the-ear hearing aids are somewhat larger than in-the-ear devices because, as their name implies, the sound amplifying mechanism sits behind the wearer’s ear. From there, sound carries through a tube that is connected to an ear mold that sits inside the ear. These hearing aids are comfortable, durable, and come in a variety of models to accommodate each individual and unique patient’s needs. Best of all, these kinds of hearing aids can easily be customized to pair with Bluetooth devices as well as other hearing assistive devices.
Receiver-in-Canal Hearing Aids
Receiver-in-canal devices are the most common hearing aids out there. Similar to behind-the-ear devices, the receiver-in-canal hearing aids’ mechanism is located behind the wearer’s ear. The difference is that instead of a tube being connected to an ear mold that sits inside the ear, the tube that carries amplified sounds goes directly in the ear canal. These hearing aids are also discreet and are fitted to each individual wearer for maximum comfort.
You can read more about the different type of hearing aids and get more information on what brands are available and how fitting works here.
Hearing Aid Solutions for Tinnitus
As previously mentioned, those suffering from tinnitus may also benefit from advanced hearing aids. Tinnitus is a life-altering condition that is characterized by a buzzing or ringing sound in one or both ears. These phantom noises, as they are known, can be constant or intermittent and can greatly affect a person’s ability to concentrate, fall asleep, or even hear ‘actual’ noises over the sounds caused by tinnitus. Tinnitus can also cause permanent damage to an individual’s hearing ability.
Hearing aids can help people who have tinnitus in a few ways. First, because tinnitus can cause hearing loss, hearing aids will make it easier to hear over the phantom noises for many patients. Additionally, hearing aids can be fitted with a special masking device that helps reduce or eliminate sounds caused by tinnitus.
Permanent hearing loss may not be curable as of yet, but with today’s hearing aids, nearly everyone who is hearing impaired has a good chance of being able to hear normally again.