Hearing Aid Styles
Though small, and often invisible, hearing aids are powerful electronic devices that reconnect you to the sounds of your life and empower you with confidence in your abilities. Hearing aids come in many shapes and sizes, but they all share the same components: microphone, processor, amplifier, receiver, and battery.
They come in many shapes and sizes, and the configuration of these components differ depending on the style of the hearing aid. The main hearing aid styles are:
In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are a form of in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids, which are worn deep inside the ear canal. These are usually custom made devices made to fit inside your canal, which gives them the benefit of being visually discreet. ITC hearing aids may be difficult for people with dexterity issues to control, while the lack of a directional microphone means they are better suited for people with moderate levels of hearing loss. They come in completely-in-canal and invisible-in-canal styles.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are worn inside the ear, with the shell of the hearing aid at the surface of the ear. The options are full shell or half shell. ITE hearing aids house all of their components in a plastic shell. While these hearing aids benefit people who wear glasses or experience arthritis, they may not be convenient for those who have dexterity issues due to their small controls.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are worn on the back of the ear with a plastic tube that delivers sound to a custom ear mold. BTE hearing aids are easier to control and treat a wide range of degrees of hearing loss. They may be inconvenient for people who wear glasses, but the placement of their controls will be easy for people who have dexterity issues.
Receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids look like BTE hearing aids; the difference is that the receiver is worn in the canal. RIC hearing aids are discreet and treat a wide range of degrees of hearing loss. Like BTE ones, they may pose a challenge for those who wear glasses due to their placement.
Hearing Aid Styles
Starkey is an American hearing aid manufacturer, known for their innovative Halo family of Made for iPhone hearing aids. Now in its third iteration, Halo iQ connects wirelessly to your iPhone, allowing you to control your hearing aid from the convenience of an app. This also increases accessibility to wearers, as they are able to stream phone calls, music, and other media directly from the smartphone to their hearing aids. With your iPhone’s GPS, Halo saves your preferences by location. When you return to saved places, your Halo iQ hearing aids will automatically adjust, providing a truly seamless listening experience. Other Starkey hearing aids include the Muse Made for Life, which provides improved speech intelligibility and sound clarity, as well as the SoundLens. Starkey offers Multiflex Tinnitus Therapy on most of their hearing aid models, designed to provide relief for people with tinnitus.
Oticon is a Danish manufacturer of hearing aids, with the new open-solution hearing aid, OPN. OPN builds on previous Oticon technological successes, such as BrainHearing Technology. With the understanding that hearing happens in the brain, Oticon has designed features to support brain function as it makes sense of sound in the auditory process. Powered with the Velox Processing Platform, OPN reduces listening effort by 20% in noisy environments and improves speech recognition by 30%. OPN’s most remarkable innovation is the ability to connect to the internet through the webservice If This Then That. Oticon BrainHearing Technology is found in a number of other hearing aid models such as Alta, Nera, and Ria.
Phonak is a Swiss manufacturer of hearing aids. Phonak uses the Venture Processing Platform to provide wearers with clear sound. Venture analyzes and balances sounds at a fast pace, while using 30% less battery power. With the new Audeo BR, Phonak offers a sophisticated rechargeable hearing aid solution. On a simple overnight charge, the Audeo BR offers up to 24 hours of listening. Rechargeable hearing aids from Phonak utilize lithium-ion battery technology, which means wearers do not need to replace the batteries for the life of the hearing aid. The Lyric hearing aid is Phonak’s 24/7 hearing solution, inserted deep in the ear canal where it does not require removal or recharge for up to four months. Phonak hearing aids are available in three models, fully customizable with four technology levels to address different degrees of hearing loss.
Widex is a family owned company founded in Denmark in 1956. Today, it is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of hearing aids. Their approach to innovation has led to such advances as the world’s first fully digital in-the-ear hearing aid, as well as their own revolutionary wireless technology. Widex believes that hearing aids are more than the technology inside them. In addition to focusing on helping people hear better, Widex also ensures their products are comfortable and easy to wear. Widex focuses just as much on design of hearing aids as on technology to create a near-natural hearing experience. Widex’s newest model, BEYOND, is also their first Made-for-iPhone model. BEYOND connects wirelessly to your iPhone (and Android!) and allows you to stream calls, music, and other media directly to your hearing aids. The BEYOND App is user-friendly, allowing you to make convenient adjustments to your listening experience.
As a sister brand of the German manufacturer Siemens, Signia came into its own in recent years with the Primax and Star listening platforms. Signia is also the latest brand from the Sivantos Group. Signia Primax hearing aids have been clinically proven to reduce listening effort. Primax hearing aids are equipped with features such as SpeechMaster, powered by noise reduction, directionality, and steering amplification; HD Music, which offers hearing aid wearers excellent high-fidelity sound quality; and EchoShield, to provide comfort and balance with reverbed sounds. Primax also offers wireless connection to smartphones through the easyTek app. The Cellion Primax is Signia’s rechargeable hearing aid which utilizes lithium-ion technology for dependable battery life. Silk Primax hearing aids are Signia’s ready-to-wear model; designed with Click Sleeves, Silk Primax fits most ears and provide people instant access to clear, rich sound.
Unitron is a Canadian hearing aid manufacturer with several impressive hearing aids: Stride, Moxi, and Max, all of which provide wearers with excellent speech recognition, noise cancellation, feedback elimination, and wireless connectivity. The Max hearing aid is designed to address severe to profound hearing loss. Unitron uses TrueFit Software to ensure the best fit for specific hearing needs, with a Flex program to allow wearers to test drive hearing aids to find their best fit.
ReSound is a Danish hearing aid manufacturer, known for their LiNX family of Made for iPhone hearing aids. ReSound LiNX 3D is the latest version of this renowned hearing aid, allowing wears to connect wirelessly to the iPhone, to stream phone calls, music, and other media directly to their ears. ReSound also offers the ENZO 2 hearing aid, designed to address higher degrees of hearing loss. These offer people with severe to profound hearing loss enhanced speech recognition and spatial awareness. At a higher amplification, the ENZO 2 manages to eliminate feedback, providing a comfortable listening experience.