Tagged: CIC hearing aid

How long should hearing aids last?

December 14, 2015

When you are considering a hearing aid purchase, there are bound to be questions you need to have answered prior to your final decision. One of the more common questions I hear is “How long should a hearing aid last?” When making a large investment, it’s important to consider the longevity of that investment in order to make the best decision for your budget, lifestyle and needs. Many people are surprised that there is a difference in typical life expectancy between styles of hearing aids.

Team of 5 business people working on some calculationsThe typical life span of most hearing aids is five to seven years. The life expectancy for a completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aid is slightly shorter compared to the other styles because it resides in a hostile environment every day. The outer ear canal is a warm, moist cavern that has a slow accumulation of wax and oils. Over time, the CIC can have wax accumulation on the receiver, which generates the sound that is heard by the ear. Alternatively, it may develop corrosion on the internal components, decreasing its functionality and/or sound quality. Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids generally have a longer life expectancy because the working parts are inside a sealed case. The part of the hearing aid that delivers the sound to the ear has no working parts, so it can be removed from the hearing aid and washed under warm water with mild soap on an as-needed basis. The newer Canal Receiver Technology (CRT) also called Receiver in the Canal (RIC) technology is sort of its own breed. This instrument has most of the working parts encased in a piece that sits behind the ear, but the receiver is in the canal, as its name implies. The nice thing about the CRT/RIC technology is that the receivers can be replaced for a nominal cost at your hearing healthcare provider’s office if wax or other debris degrades the sound quality, saving you the cost of a repair by the manufacturer. The life expectancy of the CRT/RIC is similar to the BTE.

No matter which style you choose, hearing aids need to be checked periodically to ensure they are working properly. We recommend having your hearing aids checked every six months. If you have neglected these important checks, your instruments may not be in the best working order and you may be experiencing less than optimal performance and sound quality. Regular check-ups will ensure a long lasting hearing aid that improves your everyday listening to the best of its ability. In addition, these semi-annual checks allow your provider to make sure the hearing aids function as expected. If your hearing or listening environments have changed, the hearing aids can be modified to better suit your needs at your semi-annual check-up. If it has been a while since you’ve had your hearing aids checked, call today and get your check-up scheduled. And, if you are new to hearing aids, make your investment last longer by determining to make your check-ups a priority. You’ll be glad you did.

CIC vs MicroBTE

October 19, 2015

 
Want small? You got it.

There’s an old song that goes, “you’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you.” Although the song’s crooners have long since retired, vanity is alive and well. Everyone is concerned about what hearing aids look like, whether they admit it or not. We’d like to pretend that we’ve moved beyond the stigma, but the truth is, there is still a stigma attached to wearing hearing aids that says, “I’m old” or “I have a handicap.” So, for that style-conscious consumer, there are several choices of small hearing aids that are easily hidden from view.

The completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aid is a small custom-made hearing aid that fits completely inside the ear canal. Besides the benefit of being small in size, the CIC provides a closer proximity to the eardrum which can improve the perceived sound quality and volume. Those who wear the CIC also have less issue with the irritation of wind noise running over the top of the microphone because it is protected by being tucked inside the ear canal. One of the better benefits of the CIC is the ability to use the telephone normally. The completely-in-the canal isn’t for everyone, though. It’s best for those with mild to moderate hearing loss and it requires that the user have good dexterity as the batteries are quite small. Additionally, the hearing aid must be removed from the ear by grasping a small removal strand, making this instrument difficult to use for some. However, the CIC is by far the most aesthetically pleasing hearing aid.

A close second is the micro behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid. Research shows that this hearing aid, which sits on back of the ear and has a small, clear tube attached which runs down the side of the ear and into the ear canal to deliver the amplified sound to the ear, is becoming more and more popular. Those who choose the Micro BTE option often prefer the open ear feeling that this style affords. Having an open ear canal means a more natural sound quality and a better physical fit. It’s not uncommon to hear a micro BTE wearer report, “I forget I’m even wearing a hearing aid!” Additional preference for this ultra-small hearing aid stems from the ease of use and significant decrease in the sensation of occlusion (ear canal blockage causing an echo, barrel or tunnel like sensation of sound) and poor sound quality of the wearer’s own voice.

In either case, the miniaturization of hearing aids is making it easier for those with hearing loss to take that first important step toward better hearing. And, those who have worn hearing aids before will enjoy having more choices without sacrificing function, sound quality or ease of use. If you think you might have a hearing loss, a CIC or micro BTE is a great option for just about anyone. Call our office today to see if either of these styles is right for you.