Different Hearing Aid Styles | Which Hearing Aid Style Is Best?

– In this video I’m talking about the two main styles of hearing aids and the pros and cons
of each type, coming up. (upbeat music) Hi guys, Cliff Olson, doctor of audiology and founder of applied hearing solutions and on this channel I cover a bunch of hearing related information to help make you a better informed consumer. So if you’re into that consider hitting the subscribe button. There are two general
types of hearing aids, behind the ear and in the ear. Now with in these two general types there are several different styles. In this video I won’t be
covering those specific styles in detail, it will be more
of a general overview. You’ll be able to see other videos that I’ve made on those
specific styles if you want. Let’s talk about behind
the ear styles first. For behind the ear styles,
other wise known as BTE devices, you have a standard BTE,
you have a slim tube BTE, and then you have a receiver
in the canal, or RIC. Slim tube and receiver in
the canal style hearing aids have been very popular
over the recent years and that’s because you
can fit a wide range of hearing losses with them and they don’t require
quite as much physical customization as you would with a device that requires an ear mold impression. For in the canal styles,
otherwise known as ITE you have a full shell, a half shell, an in the canal, and invisible
in the canal daily wear, and an invisible in the
canal extended wear. In the ear custom devices
used to be more popular until these non custom required behind the ear devices started hitting the scene. That being said in the recent
few years we’ve seen more of a resurgence of these custumal devices because they are actually now able to make them much smaller and fit them further inside of your ear,
making them less visible. Before I start getting into the pros and cons of the different
styles of hearing aids, it’s important to
understand that style has no influence of the level of
technology inside of a device. So you can have two devices
that look completely identical but one of them
is a premium level device and the other one is a basic level device but you wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at the style. On the other hand, you
could have two completely different style devices but have the exact same level of
technology in both of them. From a price stand point
you may spend a little bit more on a customized device because it requires an ear mold impression but that isn’t always the case. If you wanna know more about the different technology levels I have another video that I’ll link in the description below. Okay so let’s look at the pros and cons of a behind
the ear device, or BTE. Pro number one is that
behind the ear devices are quick to treat and
what I mean by that it that the slim tube style
and the receiver in the canal style you
generally can fit someone with those within a few
days because you don’t really require having
a custom tip on the end of that type of a hearing
aid you can fit someone very quickly, there’s no need to wait for an ear mold to come back from the lab, and you can fit someone,
it’s just a super quick deal, sometimes you can even
get fit the same day. The one style of behind
the ear hearing aid that doesn’t work for is the standard BTE that still requires a custom mold on the end of it and that is for severe or profound types of hearing loss. Pro number two is that behind the ear devices generally have easily replaceable components. What I mean by that is that for a RIC style hearing aid
you have a wire that goes down to the receiver, you can just swap that out if that wire goes bad, a slim tube if you have a plug up in the slim tube you can just replace that tube really quickly, if you have a standard size 13 tube coming out from a larger behind the ear device you can just swap that tube out, no problem and generally those fix a lot of the maintenance issues that you would have on
those types of devices. Pro number three is that they’re actually really comfortable. The behind the ear
styles, they people think that they would interfere
with their glasses or that they would feel
them behind their ears but generally you don’t feel them at all. They’re so light weight and so small and so perfectly contoured to you ear that you generally have no sensation of them what so ever, now you might feel the standard type BTE
because it’s a little bit bigger you might feel that a little but more but generally speaking behind the ear devices, super comfortable. Pro number four is connectivity. Behind the ear devices,
because they’re able to pull a lot of the components out of in your ear and put them behind your ear it allows them more space, sort of allows the manufactures more space to allow them to have antennas for
connectivity that you would have with your phone, with your TV, with a variety of other Bluetooth devices, and it allows you to integrate
your hearing treatment with other standard stuff
that you use around the house. So connectivity is an extremely big pro for behind the ear style device. Pro number five is that they’re
actually really discreet. When you get down to one
of the smaller receiver in the canal style hearing aids, and keep in mind you
can fit up to a really really severe hearing
loss with the receiver in the canal style
hearing device as long as you don’t have problems
with your ears draining. And when you really blend
that color in with your hair it’s almost impossible to
see from that stand point, a lot of females who tend
to wear their hair longer, you can’t even tell that
they’re even wearing a hearing aid and it just is a really nice discreet option if you know, aesthetic is something that is
really important to you. Pro number six is that they’re really good for severe to profound hearing losses and this is for more of the standard behind the ear and the
receiver in the canal. As long as you have a custom
ear mold component to them. Now the reason that they’re so good for a severe to profound hearing loss is that when you’re pushing
that much volume into the ear you run the
risk of having feed back and that’s when the
sound that leaks out of the ear recycles back
through the microphones and creates that squealing, that annoying squealing sound that you might hear. And if you are able to put the microphones of a hearing aid behind the ear rather than in the ear that sound
has to travel further in order to get it to
feed back which means that you’re less likely to
experience feed back with the behind the ear device than you are form an in the ear device. And pro number seven is that they’re become more rechargeable. The behind the ear devices a lot of the manufacturers having been making them more rechargeable,
some of them they have a special battery that you can put in them and put in a charger, others have a completely in cased battery inside of the hearing aid that you would put on the charger and from the stand point of if you have dexterity
issues with your fingers or you just don’t like
the idea of using all of those throw away batteries then having a rechargeable options really nice and it’s something you just can’t get with an in the ear option as of yet. Okay let’s go on to the cons of behind the ear devices so con number one is that they are a little bit more
detectable form a visual stand point than an invisible
in the canal hearing aid. Now while it really
depends on how much hair that you have on you’re
head and around your ears a behind the ear device can be completely invisible but if you
have really short hair people will be able to see
the behind the ear devices. Con number two is it does have the potential to either irritate the top of your ear or
interfere with your glasses. You generally don’t see irritation, you generally don’t see it bothering with glasses but every once in
awhile there’s a situation where someone just doesn’t
have enough space between their skull and their
ear and trying to get a hearing aid and eyeglass arms in the same little space doesn’t work so they won’t necessarily work for everybody, it really depends on
your individual anatomy. Con number three is that the telephone can actually be a little
but more tricky or difficult with a behind the ear
device if that device doesn’t have direct
connectivity with your phone. And the reason is is because when you hold the phone up to the center of your ear that’s not where the microphones are, the microphones are
actually on top of your ear so you might feel like
you’re actually holding the phone in a weird way and that can be a little off putting in some scenarios but when you do hold the phone up a little bit higher you actually
still can hear through a behind the ear device as long as you’re comfortable with doing that. Okay that finishes up
the pros and cons for behind the ear device, now let’s go into the pros of a in the ear device. Pro number one is ease of insertion. Custom molded devices,
particularly the larger custom molded devices are much
easier to get into your ear. They’re custom molded,
there’s only one way that they can go in, and
it’s almost like when you sink your hand into
an old catchers mitt, or baseball glove it just sinks right into the right spot and so if you have issues with your fingers or you re not able to manipulate a behind
the ear device behind your ear and inside of
your ear using a custom all in the ear device can be much easier from that stand point. Pro number two is ease of use. Generally custom devices, particularly the ones that sit deep inside of your ear canal don’t have a whole lot of settings that you need to worry about, don’t have a lot of adjustments to make on them on the fly and so you just put them in and you kinda let them do their thing and because you don’t have to worry about where you’re holding the phone or anything like that you generally can function the same way that you normally would just with having a device nice
and deep inside of your ear. It’s really great situation for someone who doesn’t want to fiddle with things, who doesn’t want to worry about glasses going on they’re head or other things like that and it’s just
really nice sometimes to just put a hearing aid in, let it do it’s thing and
not have to worry about it. Pro number three is that a custom device, your audiologist can really control the sound that’s going into your ear and what I mean by that is is that a lot of hearing aids, depending on the type of hearing loss that you
have will have venting. And venting is really important because not only does it allow some sounds in but it also can prevent
sound from escaping your ear and it all depends on
the size of that vent hole. And on more of a generic fit for like a behind the ear device if you’re using a dome you only have one option, it’s either open or it’s closed. And when you start dealing
with custom devices you can actually control
different vent sizes to accommodate different
types of hearing loss and so if you have an
audiologist who is extremely precise with how they
wanna fit you they can do it better when they’re
working with a custom device that has a venting option. Now pro number four is
really you can fit almost same kind of hearing losses with an in the ear device as you can
with a behind the ear device. I know that there is some risk of maybe having a little bit more of feed back but with the technology now a days they’re coming so super close with
the in the ear device from the stand point of being
able to fit the same severity of hearing loss and fitting
it as well as a behind the ear device. That’s it for the pros let’s start getting into the cons of an in
the ear style device. Con number one is lack
of a rechargeable option. While it would be extremely nice to have an in the ear device for someone who has finger dexterity issues
to not have to worry about batteries they
just aren’t there with the technology yet and while I do think that certain company’s will make head way into the rechargeable in
the ear device options no one from a legitimate
big six manufacturer has figured out a way to make a
rechargeable in the ear device. I do expect it though to be coming across in the next year or two. Con number two is that the larger in the ear devices can actually be seen easier than a behind the ear device. And so if aesthetic is
something that is extremely important to you or if
you have some level of vanity to you and you don’t want to have one of these in ear the ear devices in your ear so a lot of people can see them than an in the ear device might not be the best option for you unless you can get one of the really small in the canal or invisible in the canal devices and you might be better served with going with something that’s more of like a RIC style hearing aid or a slim
tube style hearing aid. Con number three is that
in the ear hearing aids generally require a little bit more maintenance than a behind
the ear style device. The reason is that they live inside of your body all day long and when they’re inside of your body all day long they’re
exposed to more moisture, more ear wax, more derbies, stuff like that and so maintenance it extremely more important with an in the ear device than it is with a behind the ear device. So what you need to be doing is going into your hearing care professional
and having those devices professionally cleaned,
not only that you doing, you should be doing you at
home maintenance as well. All that being said if you don’t take care of a behind the ear device that device is going to have issues as well. And con number four is in
the ear devices require a custom ear mold impression
in order to have a lab manufacture that device
specifically for your ear. The place that you go may
charge for that, they may not, it depends but that is a
potential con as you might be spending a little but more money for an in the ear device verses
a behind the ear device. Identifying which style is right for you really depends on what your wants and needs are, there is
no right or wrong answer to the style of a hearing
aid because it doesn’t necessarily encompass
the level of technology. Level of technology is
arguably more important than the style of device
but the style of device needs to have the capability of having the features that you want. For instance if you want connectivity with your smart phone you
can’t go with an invisible in the canal device, it
just doesn’t have enough room to have the accessibility or the Bluetooth antenna to
connect to your phone. So you’re gonna have to go with either a larger in the ear device
or a behind the ear device. And so this is all about trade offs, if you want one thing you might not be able to have another so it really is important that you take that time with your hearing care professional and uncover all of these
things that are most important to you and really identifying the perfect style of device for you. That’s it for this video
if you have any questions leave them in the comments section below. If you liked the video go
ahead and give it a thumbs up, and if you want to see more videos about hearing loss and hearing aid options go ahead and subscribe to my channel where I have a bunch of other videos that you can watch, take care
and I’ll see you next time. (upbeat music)


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