Tagged: small hearing aids

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.

Alleviate Your Concerns About Hearing Aids

June 29, 2015

Hearing loss has many repercussions. Failing to treat a hearing loss can lead to depression, frustration, insecurity, irritability, anxiety, cognitive impairment and social isolation. It can even be life-threatening if you can’t hear signs of possible danger, such as a stranger approaching you on the street. Despite these facts, only 20% of individuals who have hearing loss that could benefit from hearing aids choose to do so.

People choose not to wear hearing aids for many reasons. For some, they are not ready to accept the fact that their communication difficulties are due to their hearing loss. They prefer to accuse others of not speaking as clearly as they used to: “I can hear just fine. She just mumbles.” For others, cosmetics, or how a hearing aid looks in the ear takes precedence. The good news is that technology has made it possible for hearing aids to be virtually invisible. Many hearing aids manufactured today are so small that they can go almost undetected to the naked eye. No longer are they the “big shrimp” behind the ear like your grandfather used to wear. There are even hearing aids that are placed deep into the ear canal by your audiologist and stay there for up to four months! (check out Lyrichearing.com)

Another reason someone might choose to not wear hearing aids is because of the fact that almost everyone knows of someone who bought hearing aids and didn’t like them. This could be due to any numbers of reasons. Perhaps they received a poor quality instrument, they didn’t get it fit properly or didn’t receive enough counseling to use the hearing aids properly. Keep in mind that in most states, hearing aid purchasers have 30-days to evaluate the product in their own listening environments. If you find that the hearing aids are not providing the benefit you are looking for, the hearing aids can be returned with only a nominal fee. On a case-by-case basis, many audiologists are willing to extend the evaluation period longer if necessary. The goal of any good audiologist who has your best interests in mind is to find the right instrument that meets your hearing needs, however long that takes.

Still others may be intimidated by complicated terminology that seems to accompany hearing aids like, “digital signal processing”, “directional/dual microphones”, or “compression circuitry”. In many ways, the more advanced the hearing aids are, the less the person wearing them has to do. For example, digital hearing aids have automatic volume controls to adjust accordingly for soft, medium, and loud sounds. They can also change the workings of the hearing aid when it gets noisy, without you having to tell it to do so. Hands-free operation with digital processing actually makes using a hearing aid much easier!

The most common concern for anyone considering purchasing hearing aids is the cost. Hearing aids can indeed be expensive but the improvement in your quality of life can be well worth the investment. Keep in mind that there is no tax on hearing aids and they will come with a manufacturer’s warranty, which can include repairs and replacement for loss and damage (a deductible may apply). Additionally, many audiologists include all office visits for fine-tuning and servicing the hearing aids for the life of the hearing aids in the total cost. If you are concerned about cost, talk to your audiologist. There are hearing aids to fit any budget. Be sure to ask about payment plans, as well. You might be surprised at how easily the cost of hearing aids can be accommodated.

The size of hearing aids, how they look, confusion about technology and cost are all valid concerns when you are considering the possibility of purchasing hearing aids. The best thing to do is to get your questions answered by a professional. Working alongside someone who has your best interests in mind can put your concerns to rest. Call our office today! We’ll be glad to help.