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21 Sept 2023

How to choose the best hearing aid style for you

Anna Dearden
Home Sector Specialist

Hearing loss is a common issue that affects millions of people worldwide. In fact, over 11 million people are affected by some degree of hearing loss in the UK. When it comes to choosing the right hearing aid, it's essential to consider various factors, including the type of hearing aid that suits your needs best. But with so many options out there, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. 

So, which hearing aids are available in the UK, what are their costs, and how do you wear them?

Understanding the types of hearing aids

Fortunately, advancements in technology have led to a wide array of hearing aid options to help individuals regain their hearing and improve their quality of life. Before diving into the specifics of selecting the right hearing aid style, let's first familiarise ourselves with the various types of hearing aids available on the market.

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids: Behind-the-Ear hearing aids are among the most common and versatile options. They consist of a small plastic case that rests behind the ear and a custom-moulded earmold or an earpiece that fits inside the ear canal. BTE hearing aids are suitable for a wide range of hearing loss types, from mild to profound.

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids: In-the-Ear hearing aids are custom-made to fit the shape of your ear canal. They are less noticeable than BTE models and are typically suitable for mild to severe hearing loss. ITE hearing aids come in various sizes, including full-shell and half-shell options, offering comfort and discretion.

In-the-canal (ITC) and Completely-in-the-canal (CITC) hearing aids: ITC and CITC hearing aids are even more discreet than ITE models. ITC hearing aids sit partly in the ear canal, while CIC hearing aids are nearly invisible, resting entirely within the ear canal. These options are best suited for mild to moderate hearing loss.

Receiver-in-canal (RIC) and Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) hearing aids: RIC and RITE hearing aids are similar to BTE models but with a smaller behind-the-ear component. A thin wire connects the hearing aid to a receiver placed inside the ear canal. These styles are suitable for various degrees of hearing loss.

Bone conduction hearing aids: Bone conduction hearing aids are unique in that they don't use the traditional ear canal route for sound transmission. Instead, they transmit sound vibrations through bone, making them suitable for individuals with conductive hearing loss or single-sided deafness.


Choosing the right hearing aid style for you

Now that you're familiar with the different types of hearing aids, let's delve into the key considerations for selecting the best style to meet your specific needs.

Degree of hearing loss: The severity of your hearing loss is a crucial factor in determining the most suitable hearing aid style. For mild to moderate hearing loss, ITE, ITC, or CIC hearing aids may be appropriate. However, for more profound hearing loss, BTE, RIC, or RITE hearing aids are often recommended.

Lifestyle and activity level: Consider your daily activities and lifestyle when choosing a hearing aid style. If you lead an active lifestyle and enjoy outdoor activities, you may prefer a more robust and water-resistant hearing aid. On the other hand, if you're primarily indoors and prioritise discretion, a smaller, less noticeable model may be preferable.

Cosmetics and comfort: The appearance and comfort of your hearing aid are important factors to consider. Some people prefer discreet options like CIC or ITC hearing aids, while others may prioritise comfort and opt for BTE or RIC models. Keep in mind that the hearing aid should be comfortable for long-term wear.

Ease of use and maintenance: Different hearing aid styles may require varying levels of maintenance and adjustment. Discuss your preferences and lifestyle with an audiologist to ensure you choose a hearing aid that aligns with your maintenance capabilities and comfort level.

Budget: Hearing aid types and costs can vary significantly. Generally, more advanced features and smaller, discreet styles tend to be pricier. It's essential to set a budget and work with your audiologist to find the best hearing aid that balances your financial considerations with your hearing needs.

Hearing aid settings: Understanding hearing aid settings is crucial for getting the most out of your device. Modern hearing aids offer a range of customisable settings to optimise your hearing experience.


How to wear a hearing aid

Once you've selected the most suitable hearing aid style, it's essential to learn how to wear and maintain it correctly. Here are some steps to help you get started:

Consultation and fitting: Schedule an appointment with an audiologist or hearing specialist to have your hearing assessed and discuss your specific needs and preferences. They will recommend the most appropriate hearing aid style for you.

Customisation: Your hearing aid will be custom-fitted based on the impressions of your ear. Ensure that it fits comfortably and snugly, and consult your audiologist if you experience any discomfort or pressure.

Learning the controls: Familiarise yourself with the hearing aid controls and settings. These may include volume adjustments, program selection, and noise reduction features. Your audiologist will provide guidance on how to use these functions effectively.

Battery replacement: If your hearing aid uses disposable batteries, learn how to replace them. Your audiologist will show you the correct battery size and type for your device. Rechargeable hearing aids are also available and require periodic charging.

Cleaning and maintenance: Proper maintenance is essential for the longevity and performance of your hearing aid. Clean it regularly using a soft, dry cloth or a cleaning tool provided by your audiologist. Avoid exposing your hearing aid to moisture or extreme temperatures.

Practice: It may take some time to adjust to wearing a hearing aid, so be patient with yourself. Practice wearing it in various environments to get accustomed to the improved hearing experience.

Follow-up appointments: Schedule follow-up appointments with your audiologist to ensure your hearing aid is functioning correctly and make any necessary adjustments to settings or fit.


Hearing aid settings: What you need to know

Hearing aids offer a range of settings and features designed to enhance your hearing experience. Understanding these settings can significantly improve your ability to hear clearly in different situations. Here are some essential hearing aid settings to be aware of:

Volume control: Most hearing aids come with volume controls, allowing you to adjust the sound level to your comfort. Start at a lower volume and gradually increase it until you can hear clearly without discomfort.

Noise reduction: Noise reduction features are particularly useful in noisy environments. They work by identifying and reducing background noise, allowing you to focus on speech or other essential sounds.

Bluetooth connectivity: Some modern hearing aids offer Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to stream audio directly from your smartphone, TV, or other devices. This feature provides enhanced clarity and convenience.

Feedback suppression: Feedback or whistling sounds can occur in some hearing aids. Feedback suppression features help eliminate this unwanted noise, ensuring a comfortable listening experience.

Compare hearing aid deals with SpotDif

Hearing loss can be an isolating experience, and we understand that your hearing aids need to be both comfortable and functional. 

Investing in the right hearing aids is incredibly important, and they shouldn’t cost the earth. Use our free price comparison tool at SpotDif to find the perfect hearing aids for you, or get in touch with us to find out more. 

Anna Dearden
Home Sector Specialist
Combining in-depth research with an interest in all things home improvement, I aim to keep SpotDif readers up to date with interior design trends, renewable energy options, and more.
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