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.