There are hundreds of hearing aids to choose from today. However, there are only a handful of devices that are the most suitable for your unique hearing loss and needs. In order to help find the hearing aid that you will be most satisfied with, we begin with a discussion followed by a hearing test. The hearing test helps to define your hearing loss. The discussion helps to gather other important details necessary in the hearing aid selection.
Hearing Aid Style
There are 5 main styles of hearing aids: Receiver in the canal (RIC), completely in the canal (CIC), in the canal (ITC), in the ear (ITE), and behind the ear (BTE). There are often pros and cons to each style. It is critical that the style satisfy the hearing loss requirements (e.g. it is powerful enough), is acceptable from a cosmetic perspective, is manageable in terms of dexterity, has the necessary features, and has reasonable battery life. The knowledge and experience of the audiologist is critical in helping guide you towards the most suitable hearing aid style.
Receiver in the CanalOpen
RICReceiver in the Canal
This is the most commonly used hearing aid style today because it is discrete, comfortable, and can be adapted to fit mild ranging to severe hearing losses. Most of the electronics are housed in a very small non-custom unit that fits over the ear. A very thin wire extends from this unit down to a tiny speaker that sits inside the ear canal. Various non-custom and custom tips are available to surround the speaker and ensure comfort, retention, and appropriate sound delivery. Some of these products are rechargeable.
Completely in the CanalOpen
CICCompletely in the Canal
This custom-built aid is the smallest and most discrete style of hearing aid. It is completely contained inside the ear canal. The CIC is best suited to mild and moderate hearing losses and does require good dexterity for insertion, removal and changing batteries.
In the CanalOpen
ITCIn the Canal
This custom-built hearing aid fits mostly into the ear canal. A relatively small portion of hearing aid does show in the outer ear. It is suitable for mild ranging to severe hearing losses.
In the EarOpen
ITEIn the Ear
This custom-built hearing aid fits mostly within the outer portion of the ear. For many patients it is the easiest to insert, remove and adjust especially when dexterity is an issue. It is suitable for mild ranging to severe losses.
Behind the EarOpen
BTEBehind the Ear
This is the most powerful and durable style of hearing aid. The electronics are housed in the non-custom portion that sits over the ear. A connecting tubing and custom earmold help hold it in place and direct the sound into the ear canal. It can be used with all degrees of hearing loss, however, it is most frequently used with severe and profound hearing losses. Some of these products are rechargeable.
Hearing Aid Performance
At East Coast Hearing we focus on 3 performance levels defined as Good, Better, and Best. As the hearing aid performance level improves, there are three primary benefits to the patient: (1) improved sound quality, (2) improved background noise reduction, and (3) improved overall patient satisfaction. Together the patient with the guidance of the audiologist select the hearing aid performance level.
Hearing Aid Brand
East Coast Hearing is locally owned and truly independent. This means that we work with most hearing aid brands. This is rare these days. There are definite differences between brands in terms of sound processing and quality, physical design, controls, and features such as wireless connections with other devices including phones and TV. The following list includes the most common brands used at East Coast Hearing: Oticon, Phonak, Resound, Signia and Widex. The benefit of working with so many brands is that the patient is more likely to get the most suitable hearing aid and therefore the best possible outcome and satisfaction. Together the patient with the guidance of the audiologist select the hearing aid brand.