When it comes to hearing aids, you may assume that there’s a fairly standard approach in place, a one size-fits-all type of a thing. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, there are many different types of aid; each suited to a different type of ear and set of circumstances. From function to fashion, there are now many things to consider: hearing aids are no longer garish flesh-toned devices extruding from the ear. Instead, they can be sleek, discreet and even colourful.
Have a read through this guide of some of the main types before making a decision. Each has their own benefits, so it’s a case of choosing the one that will work best for you. Do you want to go analogue or digital? In ear or behind the ear? If you’re not sure, then read on for more!
Behind the ear or in the ear?
One of the first decisions to make is where exactly you want your hearing aid to sit. The main benefits of a behind-the-ear aid include its durability and ease of wearing. While an earmould fits inside your ear, the rest of the device sits behind your ear. The larger size allows for the inclusion of twin microphones in some devices giving you the ability to select between all-round sound and directional sound if you wish to hear something specifically in a noisy background. If your hearing loss is mild enough, you may be able to use an open-ear aid, which is much more discreet.
Alternatively, there are several different types of in-ear aids, which tend to be much smaller and less noticeable, as part of the device sites inside the ear or the ear canal. On the flipside, they can be more prone to requiring maintenance, while those considering hearing aids that sit completely in the canal of their ear should consider the fact that these are unsuitable if you suffer from regular ear infections or have a severe degree of hearing loss. A hearing aid is for long-term use, so while appearance is important, you should make sure that you are not sacrificing comfort or ease of use in order to prioritise what it looks like.
Entering the digital age
Just as with television signals and internet connections, the world of hearing aids is increasingly a digital one. But if you’re used to an analogue device don’t fret about the change. They may process incoming sound signals in different ways, but digital devices are very effective these days. Where their true power lies though is in the added complexity they offer, with greater processing power inside the device allowing for better filtering of background noise and more flexibility in adapting to various different sound profiles.
Fashion and function
While many will want to choose a device that is as discreet as possible, it’s important to recognise that there’s little stigma attached to wearing a hearing aid in this day and age, with as many as four million people in the UK – from across all age groups – doing so. With this in mind, they are increasingly being seen as a fashion accessory rather than something to hide away, much like glasses are for the eyes. The range of available aids on today’s market has never been better, with brightly coloured devices available as well as more modest flesh-toned aids. These more decoratively designed pieces are particularly popular among younger wearers.