OHSU

OHSU Hearing Aid Program-Types of Hearing Aids

Behind the Ear (BTE) Hearing Aid

Behind the ear hearing aid image

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

In the Ear (ITE) hearing aid image

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

In the Canal Hearing Aid image

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

Completely in the Canal hearing aid image
This model is very popular for its small, cosmetic appeal. It is seated deeply into the canal, and it is also easier to use a telephone without feedback (whistling). Some of the drawbacks are that it can be more expensive and prone to causing occlusion effect (user's own voice sounds too loud). This style is reserved for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.

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