Hearing Aid Overview - Daily Wear, Extended Wear, BTE, ITC and CIC Devices
Have you been noticing hearing problems lately? Has your family suggested that you see a “hearing doctor” (an audiologist)? You may put off visiting an audiologist because you feel your hearing isn’t that bad or because you attach a stigma to hearing aids. But, if you do in fact have hearing damage, it is important to seek treatment right away. Doing so can improve quality of life for your family (so they aren’t always repeating themselves or shouting at you) and protect your mental health. Recent studies have shown a correlation between hearing loss and loss of cognitive function*. Making sure you can hear will allow you to stay more engaged with the world around you and may help preserve your mental acuity in the process. And, because now there is a completely invisible hearing aid on the market, there’s no excuse to avoid a hearing aid for cosmetic reasons.
Once you’ve made the big decision to address your hearing loss, the next major step is to consider forms of treatment. For many people, hearing aids can be an effective solution. However, the multitude of options out there can be overwhelming if you’ve just begun your search. If you or someone you know is feeling this way, the hearing aids overview below may help. We’ve summarized the different types of hearing aids out there, the advantages and disadvantages, and how to know whether a Lyric could be right for you.
DAILY WEAR– This category of hearing aids requires users to remove them at night or during certain activities like telephone conversations, sports or showering.
Behind the ear hearing aids (BTE hearing aids):
These hearing aids hook over the top of your ear and rest behind the ear. BTE hearing aids are the most visible but can treat more types of hearing loss than most other types of hearing aids.
• BTE hearing aids do not require custom molding of the ear and are good for users who do not want to place a device directly into their ears.
• BTE hearing aids come in various shapes and sizes, for example, “traditional,” “open fit” and “receiver in the canal.” Open fit BTE hearing aids tend to be smaller and more streamlined, although they may not be as effective for people with severe hearing loss.
• People with active lifestyles or people would like to wear their hearing aids while using the telephone and headphones may find BTE hearing aids inconvenient.
In the canal hearing aids (ITC hearing aids):
Unlike BTE hearing aids, ITC hearing aids are placed in the ear canal.
• The small size is an advantage, but the proximity of the receiver and microphone can increase the likelihood of feedback.
• “Half shell” and “full shell” refer to specific types of ITC hearing aids. The half-shell hearing aid is smaller and is molded to fit the lower part of the outer ear. The full-shell hearing aid is molded to fit most of the outer ear area and may be more effective for people with severe hearing loss.
Completely in the canal hearing aids (CIC hearing aids):
Unlike BTE and ITC hearing aids, these are placed completely in the canal. These are the least obvious type of daily wear hearing aid and can improve mild to moderate hearing loss in adults.
• CIC hearing aids are molded to fit deeper inside the ear than other hearing aids. They the least obvious hearing aids because of where they are placed.
• The microphone of CIC hearing aids resides in the ear canal and the receiver (speaker) is located near the ear drum. Besides improving the aesthetics of the hearing aid, the deeper placement helps simulate how sound enters the ear better than other types of hearing aids can.
EXTENDED WEAR– This category of hearing aids can be worn continuously by the user for 24/7 hearing.
Lyric® hearing aids:
Lyric is the world’s first and only completely invisible, extended-wear hearing aid – it is worn 24/7 for up to four months at a time. It is best suited for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
The Lyric is custom molded to the ear canal and is placed deep in the ear canal by an audiologist. It can be worn continuously for up to 120 days at a time.
• Deep placement allows the outer ear to direct sound into the ear canal naturally, resulting in less feedback and more natural sound quality than other hearing aids.
• Lyric can easily be worn while exercising, showering, using headphones, and talking on the phone.
• Unlike other hearing aids, Lyric is purchased on a subscription basis and does not require users to buy battery replacements.
Top 5 Signs Lyric® is Right for You
1. You Need 24/7 Hearing Aids: You need hearing aids that can perform across different settings and situations, from a noisy restaurant, to the gym, to a concert, or even to the shower!
2. You Want Natural Sound Quality: You want hearing aids that will approximate your natural hearing as much as possible.
3. You Want a 100% Invisible Solution: You value aesthetics – just because you need hearing aids, it doesn’t mean you need people to know you’re wearing one!
4. You Live an Active Lifestyle: You’re always on the go and need hearing aids that can keep up!
5. You Want a “Hassle-Free” Device: You don’t want to deal with costly battery replacements or extra fees to upgrade to the latest technology
* Lin, FR (2011). “Hearing Loss and Cognition Among Older Adults in the United States.” Journal of Gerontology A: Biological and Medical Sciences [epub ahead of print; doi: 10.1093/gerona/glr115].
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