636-441-3100

Hearing Aids

WHAT IS A HEARING AID?

A hearing aid is a small electronic device that is worn in or behind the ear. The hearing aid is comprised of a microphone, an amplifier, a receiver or speaker, and a small microchip or computer chip. The microphones collect environmental sounds and transmit them to the microchip. The microchip analyzes the sound to reduce background noise and enhance the frequencies needed for better hearing. The sound is then amplified and sent to the ear via the speaker or receiver.

Hearing aids come in a variety of styles with a wide range of features. Once the audiologist assesses your hearing, he or she will help you decide which style is best for you. The design of hearing aids continue to get smaller, but choosing a smaller hearing aid can often compromise power needed for better hearing. The following are the most common styles.

Insignia Hearing Aids - Multiple Colors

BTE (Behind The Ear)

  • Microphone & receiver (speaker) sit behind ear
  • Custom earmold (mostly acrylic or silicone)
  • More powerful (more volume, less feedback, more room to make future changes)
  • Often more reliable
  • Some types are rechargeable
  • Different colors to match hair and/or skin tone

BTE (Open Fit)

  • Same features as traditional BTE on the outside
  • Small slim-tube instead of custom earmold (nearly invisible)
  • Allows for less “clogged” feeling, more natural
  • For mild to severe high frequency hearing loss
  • Slim-tube is disposable, easy maintenance
  • Can be slight challenge to insert if have dexterity problems or neuropathy in fingers
  • Must keep slim-tube clean and free of wax
  • Some types are rechargeable
  • Different colors to match hair and/or skin tone

RIC (Receiver in Canal)

  • Receiver (speaker) inside the ear canal
  • Allows for more power in a smaller package (very discreet)
  • Versatile (multiple levels of power)
  • Some types are rechargeable
  • Different colors to match hair and/or skin tone

ITE (In-The-Ear)

  • All components (microphone, speaker, etc.) housed in custom made casing
  • Different sizes based on power needed
    • Full Shell or Half Shell
    • In-the-Canal (ITC)
    • Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC)
  • Limitations due to small size (cannot fit some features)
  • Typically more maintenance
  • Little ventilation can lead to “clogged” feeling

Once you’ve decided on the style, the audiologist will also help you decide which features best fit your lifestyle and needs. The advanced features vary depending on the technology level of the hearing aid. Technology levels can vary from basic amplification to advanced signal processing and sound quality. The cost of a hearing aid is generally dependent upon the technology level. Pricing can range anywhere from $1000 per hearing aid to $3000 per hearing aid.

Midwest ENT’s audiologists believe in providing the right hearing solution for you. Call our Audiology Department today at 636-685-8250 to schedule your appointment for a hearing test and hearing aid evaluation.

Click HERE to learn about hearing aid care and troubleshooting.