Whether you have trouble hearing the TV, conversations in noisy environments or struggle to hear when talking on the phone, hearing aids can help improve your hearing. While they won’t restore it, they can have a positive impact on your quality of life, and help you hear sounds you may have struggled to hear for a while.
There are a number of different types of hearing aid - including digital models - and each has its own benefits depending on the type of hearing loss you have. But how effective are hearing aids? What are their benefits? And how can they help your hearing?
There are a number of different types of hearing aids, and the most suitable type for your needs depends on a variety of factors, including:
The type of hearing loss you have
Your individual needs
Whether you’ve been wearing hearing aids for a number of years or have only recently started using them, your audiologist will be able to discuss the different types with you, the effectiveness of hearing aids for helping with hearing loss, and determine which is most suitable for you.
The types of hearing aids include:
As their name suggests, these hearing aids sit behind your ear, and are connected by a tube to an earmould (a small piece of plastic) or an open fitting (a soft tip that sits just inside the opening of your ear).
BTE are one of the most common types of hearing aids. They’re effective for most types of hearing loss and are one of the easiest to use, so can be used by people of all ages - making them one of the most common types of hearing aids.
These hearing aids also sit behind your ear, and connect to a speaker that sits in the opening of your ear thanks to a thin wire.
As with BTE models, these hearing aids are suitable for most types of hearing loss, and while they’re not as visible as BTE hearing aids, they are less easy to use.
These hearing aids are effective for most types of hearing loss - from mild to severe - but they can be a bit more difficult to use than the BTE and RITE devices.
They come in two styles: one that completely covers the opening of your ear, and one that covers the lower part of the opening, and because no part of the device sits behind your ear, you can’t see them from the back.
These hearing aids sit in the opening of your ear and are moulded to the shape of your ear, so are much less visible than other types of hearing aids. However, they can be difficult to use, and are most suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss, as they’re not powerful enough for those who have particularly severe hearing loss.
If you’re looking for a hearing aid that’s barely visible, CIC and IIC (invisible in the canal) may be suitable. These are the smallest hearing aids available, and because they’re moulded to fit further into your ear opening, they’re very difficult to see.
However, they don’t tend to be powerful enough for severe hearing loss and some models can only be fitted and removed by a professional hearing aid fitter, so may not be suitable for everyone. Speak to your audiologist if you’d like to find out more and discuss whether these hearing aids will be effective for your lifestyle and hearing loss.
If you’ve lost hearing in one ear, CROS/BiCROS hearing aids could help improve your hearing.
They come as a pair, so you’ll need to wear both as the hearing aid in your affected ear will transmit the sound to the hearing aid in your unaffected ear. This can take place wirelessly, or through a wire that sits at the back of your neck.
So-called because they’re connected to a small box, which can be worn on your clothing or popped into your pocket, these devices may be most suitable if you have severe hearing loss and need a hearing aid that’s particularly powerful, or if you find other devices difficult to use.
Your lifestyle, as well as your hearing loss - and your experience of losing your hearing and how that affects you - is completely unique, so it makes sense that your hearing aids will only be effective if they work for your individual needs.
That means that the effectiveness of each hearing aid depends on the type of hearing loss you have - and therefore the type of hearing aid you choose. As we’ve seen, some hearing aids are suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss, while others can help improve more severe types of hearing loss.
In addition, your hearing aids will work best if they’re used on the affected ears. So if both of your ears are affected by hearing loss, wearing hearing aids in both ears will give you a better all-round experience (and the hearing aids will be more effective) as your brain will interpret the signals much more naturally.
Your audiologist will discuss your individual situation and recommend the hearing aids that best suit your requirements. They’ll also be able to give you advice around cleaning and maintenance, as some of the devices that sit in your ear will need regular cleaning to prevent a build-up of wax, which can make them less effective.
Of course, your hearing aids are just an extra part of the system that helps you hear, and they work in conjunction with your ears and brain to make sense of the sounds you come across each day.
The type of hearing loss you have will greatly affect the type of hearing aid that will be most suitable - and subsequently which hearing aid will be most effective for your needs.
Whether you choose a hearing aid that sits in your ear, or one that sits behind it, it’s important to know how your particular device works so that you can get the most out of it. This includes getting to grips with:
Connecting it to your electronic devices, like your TV or phone
How it connects to hearing loops
By doing this, you’ll not only gain confidence in your daily life, you’ll also be able to determine how effective your hearing aids can be.
Remember, new hearing aids can take time to get used to, and the clarity they bring can be a little overwhelming at first. So make sure you take your time and gradually build up the amount of time you wear them until you feel comfortable.
One of the best ways to determine the effectiveness of hearing aids is to regularly see your audiologist. They’ll not only be able to help with any concerns you may have and help you with any maintenance queries, they’ll also be able to discuss the available range of hearing aids and which device is most suitable for your needs.
So make an appointment with Boots Hearingcare and speak to our experienced team today.