OHSU Hearing Aid Program-Types of Hearing Aids
Behind the Ear (BTE) Hearing Aid
This style hearing aid has enough power to correct moderate to severe hearing loss. It is easier to keep clean, and the controls are large enough to manipulate easily. Some people shy away from this style due to its larger size, but it is available in different colors and mini sizes, which can make it less noticeable. These models tend to have a longer life because all of the electronic components rest outside of the ear and are not directly exposed to earwax and perspiration.
In the ear (ITE) Hearing Aid
This style is more compact but not as small as some canal hearing aids. Remember, the very tiny hearing aids (shown below) can limit the amount of functions that are available to the user. The ITE may have a telecoil switch that enables one to hear on the telephone without feedback (whistling). A situation switch may also be used to reduce background noise when the environment is noisy. This style is appropriate for many types of hearing loss and can be used with one that has mild or severe hearing impairment.
In the Canal (ITC) Hearing Aid
This style fits inside the ear canal but can still be seen. This model may have a volume control that is small and difficult to use if the user has poor finger dexterity. It is a popular choice because of its relatively small size and ability to hold a dual microphone system (good for background noise control). This model is reserved for mild to moderate hearing losses.
Completely in the Canal Hearing Aid
Digital Hearing Aids
How does a digital hearing aid work? How does the sound get processed so I can hear it? Inside the hearing aid, there is a tiny computer that processes sound a million times per second. This has an obvious advantage over the old analog technology that acts primarily as a straight amplifier (just made things louder). The only hearing aids that were available 10-15 years ago were analog. The digital aid (today's technology) can separate speech from background noise, providing a cleaner sound and are programmed for the user's specific hearing loss and can also offer multiple programs to use in different listening situations. A typical cost for a digital aid is $1000 to $3000 each.
Digital is not for everyone. Many factors must be weighed when choosing a hearing aid, including the type of hearing loss, as well as finances. Your hearing professional should work with you to find the most appropriate type of amplification that will work with your lifestyle and budget.
Make an Appointment
If you would like to find out more about hearing aids, the OHSU Hearing Aid Program, hearing tests, or would like to talk with us about how our services can help you, a family member, or your classroom, please contact us at 503 494-5171 or you can email us.