Two hearing aids? Left has blue marker and right has red marker, remember red for right.
Compare & Search UK Hearing Aids Catalogue
Compare hearing aids from around the world from private hearing aids to public national health service hearing aids which can also be compared with our comparison tool. After a hearing aid user guide? Check out the biggest database online of hearing aid user guides.
Please note the hearing aid encyclopedia is designed to show you the wide range of hearing aids available and the excellent quality of technology provided both privately and by the NHS. It is not to pinpoint which hearing aid you need to buy or obtain this requires a consultation with a hearing specialist.
Choosing the right hearing aid for you will come down to a number of different factors. We have discussed them here.
Hearing Aids For Different Hearing Ranges
Hearing aids are made to fit a varying type of hearing level ranges. Once you have had a hearing test completed your audiologist or hearing specialist will be able to tell you your hearing thresholds and what range your hearing is within.
Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss
A hearing aid for a mild to moderate hearing loss requires the smallest amount of power compared to hearing aids for other hearing ranges. They also tend to be smaller and require smaller batteries. Be careful though because a small hearing aid does not always mean the best hearing aid therefore learn and read about dexterity and technology levels also. Difficulty hearing conversation in background noise is a common symptom of a mild to moderate hearing loss this means a excellent hearing aid for mild to moderate hearing loss is one that tackles and improves hearing ability in background noise situations.
Mild to Severe Hearing Loss
A hearing aid suitable for mild to severe hearing loss is one that tends to fit a hearing loss with the occasional hearing frequency reaching the severe hearing range. It is a versatile type of hearing aid. It needs to be able to accommodate hearing difficulties across the range, however you do not want a hearing aid designed for a severe hearing loss when only one or two of your hearing thresholds are in the severe range. You do not want your hearing aid to be over powering. Difficulty in background noise such as in a Mild to Moderate hearing loss is also common.
Mild to Profound
A hearing aid that suits a mild to profound hearing loss can be difficult to get quite right, this type of hearing loss may struggle to meet a target fully when many hearing aids a set to fit a range of mild to severe therefore leaving a few hearing thresholds unobtained, however a hearing aid that suits a severe to profound can be overbearing for a hearing loss where some hearing thresholds are only very mild. It means there it a large difference in the ability to hear some frequencies over others which makes how the hearing aid is programmed a crucial point to the hearing aid being a success.
Moderate to Severe Hearing Loss
A hearing aid for moderate to severe hearing loss needs to be particularly good at picking up conversations, extra features that help to boast speech help especially in situations such as on the telephone or in public places. This needs to be a very balanced hearing aid, you do not want it to occlude the ear to much yet it still needs to provide a fair amount of both power and clarity.
Severe to Profound
A hearing aid for a severe to profound hearing loss needs to be a complex and specialist hearing aid. You will find there will be a minimal number of hearing aids that fit a severe to profound hearing loss in comparison to mild to severe hearing lossses. It tends to be a hearing loss less focused on by hearing aid manufacturers but those that have brought hearing aids suitable for severe to profound hearing losses to the table are excellent in providing what they do. A hearing loss within this range may have little residual hearing to fit a hearing aid too making hearing aid amplification a difficult task not to distort the sound received.
Along with the hearing aid itself a good ear mould and overall regular maintenece of the hearing aid is crucial for severe to profound hearing loss.
A hearing aid for a profound hearing loss will be the strongest on the market. These are super power hearing aids and are worn with caution and do not suit hearing losses other than severe to profound or profound. It is not only clarity that such a hearing aid needs to provide, it is power. This type of hearing aid needs to be able to function all day long for all needs , all scenarios and all weathers. A hearing aid for a profound hearing loss will have been thoroughly tested to be robust and reliable.It will require larger batteries to power it.
Behind The Ear
A hearing aid where the workings and battery sits behind the ear is called a "Behing The Ear" or "BTE". They can vary in shape, size and length but will tend to follow the curvature shape of top of your ear to sit discreetly and securely in place. This type of hearing aid although may seem more visible because it is not hidden inside your ear can actually be more comfortable to wear as all the workings of the hearing aid do not block up your ear and make it feel full which can be an effect of using an In The Ear hearing aid. Behind the ear hearing aids are popular in the hearing market due to a number of reasons:
- They offer the ability for more power and amplification using larger batteries.
- Their overall maintanence is easier and can be repaired there and then
- They are user friendly and can be made with as little and more complex controls as needed
- Their are many mini BTE options avaliable
- Excellent quality BTE hearing aids are provided on the NHS
Some of the difficulties experienced by Behind The Ear hearing aid users are especially noted outdoors with wind noise as well as not being completely invisible.
Behind The Ear hearing aids can also be termed RITE or RIC's depending on the fitting type attached to the hearing aid. RITE means Receiver In The Ear, which uses a particularly thin wire attachment from the hearing aid behind the ear that sits securely into the ear. RIC means Reciever In Canal. With the reciever sitting closer into your ear it requires less volume and provides more clarity. It is a discreet and comfortable option however not great for those with poor manual dexterity.
In The Ear
A hearing aid that sits inside your ear is called an "In The Ear" hearing aid or "ITE". To be able to fit in the ear comfortably and In The Ear hearing aid needs to be custom made. It can come in four different size shapes.
A complete ITE is also called a full shell, this fully fills your outer ear and requires a good impression taken of your outer ear to precisely indent your ear shape of the mould. A battery for such ITE hearing aids tends to be a similar size to one often used in many BTE hearing aids which is a size 13 battery. A half shell is similar to the above full shell except it only sits in the lower portion of your outer ear.
An ITC hearing aid is an In The Canal hearing aid, this will fill the openning of the ear canal. It is much smaller than the half or full shell ITE hearing aids and requires a smaller 312 battery. The smaller you go in terms of ITE the less manual controls will be available to you. For such a hearing aid your ear canal must not be too narrow to house it.
A CIC hearing aid stands for a "Completely In the Canal" hearing aid which means you are not able to see any hearing aid in your ear. This type of hearing aid's main popularity comes from it being able to be a small intelligent device. These work there best when paired up to be controlled with a remote control or smart phone.
Can you get any smaller than a completely in the canal hearing aid? Well yes you can, an Invisible In Canal or IIC. An Invisible In Canal hearing aid goes a little further into the ear canal, requires the smallest hearing aid battery. Some IIC hearing aids are set with an extended battery life. Due to being deep in the ear it means it is less likely to pick up wind noise as much as a BTE hearing aid however it is the most likely to be blocked with wax easily to to its position in the ear.
The benefits of ITE hearing aids are:
- Discreet and some even invisible
- Reduced wind noise
- Some can have settings controlled by remote or smart phone
- Can not be accidently removed by taking of a hat or having a hair cut.
- Is one compact unit with less varying parts