Hearing Aid Styles
Most hearing aid series come in many different styles – fit to suit a vast array of style preferences, lifestyles, and degrees of hearing loss severity. Hearing aid styles are typically identified by three or four letter acronyms that are usually consistent regardless of manufacturer. These names and letters may seem confusing at first, however, become quite intuitive once you become a bit more familiar with them. While it is nice to have a basic understanding of hearing aid styles and an idea of what you would be interested in, you and your hearing aid specialist will work closely together to find the style that works best for you.
Invisible-In-Canal (IIC) Hearing Aids
Although all modern hearing aids are small and discreet, IIC hearing aids are by far the least detectible. These hearing aids are custom made to fit your ear’s anatomy and fit further into the ear canal than other hearing aid style – thus causing them to become completely invisible. These hearing aids are suitable for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
In-The-Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids
Custom In-The-Ear hearing aids fit within your outer ear and appear a bit larger than ITC hearing aids. They are easy to adjust for those who prefer to make adjustments on their actual hearing devices rather than a controller or app. These hearing aids also typically come in a wide range of skin tones and are suitable for those with mild to severe hearing loss.
Completely-In-Canal (CIC) Hearing Aids
Completely-In-Canal hearing aids are similar to IIC in that they are custom made and fit inside your ear canal. Only a very small “tip” of the hearing aid or a small clear plastic “handle” will show with CIC hearing aids. Most people who choose CIC hearing aids report that people typically do not know they are wearing hearing aids. CIC hearing aids are also most suitable for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) Hearing Aids
Although RIC hearing aids do not fit within the ear canal, they are still a very discreet option. With these hearing aids, the receiver sits in the wearer’s ear canal and thin electronic wires lead to an apparatus that sits behind the ear. The portion that sits outside of the ear is typically hidden behind the user’s auricle (or outer ear cartilage) – and is therefore typically unseen. These hearing aids also come in various skin tones or hair shades for those who wish to be discreet, or fun bright colors for those who want to stand out. These hearing aids are suitable for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
In-The-Canal (ITC) Hearing Aids
ITC hearing aids fit into the ear canal and are custom fit to the wearer. These hearing aids do not fit completely into the ear canal, instead a portion of the hearing aid will be visible in the outer ear. These hearing aids are still quite discreet and typically come in a variety of skin tones for maximum discreetness. These hearing aids are slightly larger and are suitable for those with mild to mildly severe hearing loss.
Behind-The-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
BTE hearing aids are similar to RIC models in that they are worn behind the ear where the technology is housed. Thin plastic tubing runs from the outer portion to an earbud or earmold that is fin into your ear canal. These hearing aids are powerful, and are suitable for those with even the most severe hearing loss.
Hearing Aid Brands
We offer a wide variety of hearing aid brands and options from the top hearing aid manufacturers in the world. Some of our brands are listed below:
Identifying the Signs of Hearing Loss
For most of us, hearing loss happens slowly over time, while we are busy simply living our lives. The process is so gradual; it’s easy for us to miss it. This might be why the average American waits seven years from the time they first notice changes in their hearing to the time they seek treatment. During this time, those who wait are missing out on a lot of meaningful conversations with family, subtle jokes with friends, and even dangers in our path.
It is imperative to know the signs of hearing loss, so you or your loved ones can seek treatment – and start living better – as soon as possible.
You can hear, but you just can’t understand.
This is one of the most common complaints we hear from our clients. Many people feel like they are hearing the person they are speaking to, but it sounds like they are mumbling or speaking too softly. Often, the reason you are unable to understand is that hearing loss can cause confusion in understanding the subtle sound difference in letters – especially consonants such as d and b. When we are not correctly hearing and processing all the correct letter sounds – it makes sense that we wouldn’t understand a person’s speech.
You experience annoying ringing in you ears.
If you have it, you know it. The annoying ringing, buzzing or humming in your ears is called tinnitus – and it is closely linked with hearing loss. In fact, according to the CDC, roughly 90% of people who experience tinnitus also have an underlying hearing impairment (https://hearinghealthfoundation.org/hearing-loss-tinnitus-statistics/). The nagging ringing that keeps you up at night could literally be your ears trying to tell you something – to get your hearing checked!
Family members complain about your volume.
This one is also very common. You may feel like you are listening to the baseball game at a perfectly normal volume – but your family members keep asking you to turn it down! Most likely, your wife has not suddenly become more sensitive to sound – you may be listening to a louder volume than you realize. Fortunately, many modern hearing aids are now capable of streaming directly to your hearing aids – score for you (and her).
You start to withdraw from social situations.
This one may be hard to identify, however, when was the last time you attended a family birthday party or a work happy hour? Often, hearing loss can impair our ability to hold conversations with multiple people – especially in noisy situations. This can cause us to opt out of these social opportunities, rather than dealing with the frustration that accompanies trying to converse in noisy environments with untreated hearing loss. Withdrawing from human interaction is not just rough on your social life, it can have serious implications for your health – including an increased risk for dementia.
You struggle to hear your wife, husband, significant other, friends or grandchildren.
When we start losing our hearing, higher frequencies tend to be the first to go. Because women and children often speak at higher frequencies in general, it can often become more difficult to hear and understand them. If this is happening to you, you may be experiencing hearing loss.
You feel overly tired, anxious, or depressed.
Unfortunately, untreated hearing loss causes a lot of mental strain. When you brain needs to focus so intently to hear and understand – it becomes fatigued much more quickly than if there was no hearing loss present. If you spend all day at work straining to hear – it makes sense that you come home absolutely exhausted. Hearing loss has also been closely correlated with an increased risk of anxiety and depression.
You’re reading this page.
If you’re wondering if you may have hearing loss – chances are you might. Being curious about your hearing health is a good thing; it means you are getting closer to starting your journey to better hearing and an improved quality of life!
If you or someone you love is experiencing any of these signs of hearing loss – it is important to get your hearing checked.
What to Expect From a Hearing Test
Nobody likes tests. In fact, most of us would probably like to leave tests back in college or high school where they belong! Fortunately for all of us, a hearing test is different, and taking one could have a dramatically positive impact on your life. If you’re worried about undergoing your first hearing assessment, read this friendly guide. We’ll help you better understand what to expect during this quick and painless process, step-by-step.
At Audiology Services & Hearing Aid Center, we put our patients first. From the moment you pick up the phone to schedule, to the time you walk out of your appointments, you should expect to be treated with the upmost dignity and respect. We understand that hearing loss is a personal and sometimes sensitive process. We’ll walk with you through every step of the process, and answer any questions you may have along the way. We’ll take the time to ensure you fully understand your hearing profile and treatment options. At a Audiology Services & Hearing Aid Center hearing assessment or appointment, you can expect to work with a team of qualified professionals who truly care about you.
Firstly, you will be asked to fill out a brief medical history form – similar to the forms you have completed at any previous doctor’s appointment. We’ll ask you about your medical history, as well as pertinent health information about immediate family members. Be sure to bring a list of your past and present medications if possible, as some medications have been correlated with hearing loss.
After the medical history is collected, one of our specialists will use an instrument called an otoscope to examine your ear canal. Chances are you’ve experienced a doctor using an otoscope to inspect your ears at nearly every past check-up. During this time, the specialist will be looking for any physical blockage that could be causing hearing issues, such as earwax buildup or polyps.
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Expect Painless Hearing Assessments
When the physical examination is finished, the specialist will then begin administering painless hearing assessments in a sound-proof room. Based on your self-reported hearing profile, a variety of assessments may be given. Some of the most common examinations are as follows:
This assessment is very common and straightforward. During this test, you will be wearing headphones and will be asked to push a button or raise your hand each time you hear a sound. This helps the specialist gain basic knowledge of what volume you can and cannot hear.
This hearing test examines your ability to distinguish between sounds during speech. Because these differences are often so minute, they are a good measure of early hearing loss. During this assessment, you will be played speech through headphones at various volumes and will be asked to repeat what you hear. Sometimes, distractors such as background noise may be included.
Bone Conduction Assessment
While this is sometimes considered the scariest sounding test, we assure you it is completely safe and painless! During this assessment, a small vibrating probe will be placed against your skull behind your ear. It tests how well sound is detected through your bone from your inner ear.
Expect to Discuss (and Fully Understand) Your Results
One of the best parts of a hearing test is that the results are available immediately. Directly after your assessments are completed, you and your hearing specialist will be able to talk through the results. At this time, the specialist will explain your specific hearing profile – including your hearing strengths and areas of need. He or she will make sure that you fully understand the results of your hearing tests and your own unique hearing profile.
After discussing your results, you will then be given the best treatment options for you. For the vast majority of people with hearing loss, treatment with hearing aids is extremely successful. This is a completely individualized decision, however, and you and your Audiology Services & Hearing Aid Center specialist will determine if hearing aids are right for you.