Hearing aids used to be large clunky plastic shells over the inner workings which needed large batteries and frequent cleanings. And even when they were clean, they looked dingy because the plastic discolored. They were, well, obvious, and there was no way to style your hair around them, use a phone or wear a headset if you needed one for your job.
These days, newer hearing aid models are tiny, and they fit in your ear canal. The first step to treating hearing loss, of course, is getting a hearing test at Hearing Group and then having a professional go through your options with you.
In-the-Ear Hearing Aids
There are basically two types of in the ear hearing aids. One is custom fitted and inserted by a professional. It rests near the ear drum at the second bend of the ear canal and it is truly invisible. The other, also custom made and fitted, goes in the ear and it has a tiny handle so the person wearing it can remove it.
You may want the in-the-ear models because you think the other types make you look old, or they just look cumbersome. But in-the-ear models are not for everyone. They are an exciting technological advancement for many wearers. In addition to being discreet, they do have some sound quality advances and they allow you to use headsets and ear phones. And, you don’t have to worry about matching to your skin tone or hair color.
Advantages of In-the-Ear Hearing Aids
They are attractive and discreet. They are as close to invisible as you can get because they have no external tubes or wires. They are light weight and custom fitted so most wearers find them quite comfortable. It is easier to use a telephone, headset or sound-reducing headphones with them. The outer ear acts as a block against the wind and they don’t make a whistling noise so outdoor enthusiasts find them very attractive.
Because they are located close to the ear drum in the ear canal, most wearers say they produce a natural sound. Sound hearing device wearers describe the sound from over the ear or outside the ear hearing aids as sounding like you are talking into a barrel. They find the in the ear devices eliminate that issue and helps with better hearing of high-frequency sounds and voices.
They need less power to work because they are closer to the ear drum. This means they are less likely to have feedback issues. New materials mean they are resistant to moisture and have less ear wax issues than older models. The newer material is also softer and more conforming to the inside of the ear. They are water resistant and some are even waterproof and advertised as being submergible.
Disadvantages of In-the-Ear Hearing Aids
There are trade-offs because of the small size. The batteries don’t last as long because they are smaller. Typically, behind the ear model batteries last for between 110 and 13 hours. The in the ear model batteries typically last between 61 and 98 hours. Some people just can’t stand having something in their ear and they find these models so annoying – they stop wearing them. As an aside, remember you can “test drive” your hearing devices and get a trial period to make sure they work for you and you will be able to use them.
Another disadvantage to in-the-ear models is that they are not really suitable for those with severe hearing loss. They work best for individuals who have slight to moderate hearing loss. If your hearing is worse than “moderate” the behind the ear model devices pack more punch and will make you a lot happier!
In-the-ear models don’t fit everyone’s ears. The inside of your ear is unique so the in the ear devices are fitted by making a mold of your ear canal. Some individuals ear canals are too short to handle the device or are shaped in such a way that they can’t wear them.
Smaller size means they have limited features – like no directional microphones which many find useful if they are involved in social or work situations in large areas with a noisy environment. The controls are smaller and harder to see so they are not suited for those with vision or dexterity issues.
The first step to better hearing and finding which devices are best for you is calling and scheduling a hearing test. After determining what, if any hearing issues you face, the team at Hearing Group will find you hearing aids that work for you!