When choosing the best hearing aids, it’s important to know what features to consider. There are several different types, and your particular needs will determine which is best for you.
Hearing aids are electronic devices that are designed to compensate for hearing loss. There are two categories of hearing aids based on the technology used in their construction. Analog hearing aids, which were first introduced in the late 1800s, use transistors and other components such as a microphone and receiver to amplify sound and make it audible to the user. Digital hearing aids use computer technology to create a digital copy of incoming sound waves and convert them into an audible format that can be picked up by the receiver. They employ a microphone, radio transmitter, and receiver, just like analog units, but do not have any moving parts. Both types of hearing aid have advantages and disadvantages.
Hearing aids are typically classified as either “behind the ear” (BTE), which is placed in or on the ear canal, or “in the ear” (ITE), which fits completely inside of the outer ear. However, other options are available today, such as surgically implanted cochlear implants for people with profound hearing loss who cannot benefit from conventional hearing aids.
BTE devices are placed behind the ear using an earmold that is inserted into the ear canal, while ITE models fit entirely inside of the outer ear.
All hearing aids require maintenance and must be cleaned regularly for optimal sound amplification performance and longer device lifespan. BTE devices that have tubes extending from them can get clogged with wax over time and require regular cleaning. The same applies to ITE designs in outer shells, which house electronics within their interior surface, although many models have been designed to withstand normal wax buildup.
Hearing aid batteries should be changed on a regular basis and should carry the expiration date of the battery when you purchase your hearing aids from your audiologist. Batteries for ITE units will need to be replaced on average every two weeks, while those for BTE designs can last anywhere from three days to one week, depending upon usage patterns.
Based on understanding these differences, you will be able to decide which type would be the best hearing aids for you – Whether it be a digital or analog design, or a “behind the ear” or “in the year” model. It all depends on what you need and what would fit best with your lifestyle and medical needs.