Hearing Aids Overview

Hearing Aids

Modern hearing aids have come a long way from the bulky, beige eyesores of our grandparents. Today’s hearing aids are powerful, sleek, discreet, and technologically advanced. There are literally hundreds of options of modern hearing aids on the market today.

With so much choice, you are bound to find a hearing aid that meets your needs and preferences. You are also most likely going to come across some uncertainty. To help alleviate this, we’ve created this helpful guide of hearing aid basics. Once you’ve educated yourself on the basics, call us to schedule a consultation. We specialize in guiding you through the process of choosing the perfect hearing aid based on your needs.

When teaming up with us at Vital Hearing, you will have access to many different hearing aids from the top manufacturers in the world. We will work together to find the perfect hearing aid for you.

Hearing Aid Styles

Hearing aid styles refer to the basic size and shape of a hearing aid, and how it fits into or onto your ear. Most hearing aid manufacturers use the same three or four letter acronym to describe the style of their hearing aids. This keeps things consistent across manufacturers and easier to understand for consumers. The first three sections below are typically custom fit. We will take an impression of the ear and send it off to be custom made by the manufacturer. Vital Hearing does not charge any more to make a custom fit hearing aid.

IIC Hearing Aids

Invisible-In-Canal (IIC) Styles

Invisible-In-Canal hearing aids look just as they sound. These hearing aids are the most discreet style, as they fit completely within the ear canal and become totally invisible to any onlookers. Due to the deep fit of these devices, a push button for manual control is not possible. These devices are not appropriate for all hearing losses, and are so small that manual dexterity must be excellent. Not every ear canal will be large enough, or shaped appropriately, for this style.

CIC Hearing Aids

Completely-In-Canal (CIC) Styles

CIC style hearing aids are just slightly larger than the IIC style. They are still very discreet. Both the IIC and the CIC use very small batteries, so the user should have good manual dexterity. The CIC sits closer to the opening of the canal, so we can typically add a push button on the faceplate to give the user a manual control for features such as a volume control.

ITE/ ITC Hearing Aids

In-The-Canal (ITC) and In-The-Ear (ITE) Styles

ITC and ITE styles are larger than CICs, and will fill up more of the bowl of the outer ear. These devices will have a larger battery than the IIC and CIC, so the battery life will be longer. Since they are larger in size, more features can be added to these devices, such as Bluetooth connectivity, directional microphones, more powerful speakers for more severe hearing losses, and push buttons/volume wheels. These devices are easier to handle for individuals with manual dexterity issues.

RIC Hearing Aids

Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) and Receiver-In-The-Ear (RITE) Styles

RIC and RITE hearing aids are acronyms for the same style of hearing aid. Typically, manufacturers will choose one acronym or another to describe this style. With RIC and RITE hearing aids, the body of the hearing aid sits behind the outer ear and a very thin wire, called a speaker or receiver, connects it to an earbud or earmold that sits in the ear canal. RIC/RITE hearing aids are usually very discreet.

One major advantage to using a RIC/RITE is that, depending on the hearing loss, we can keep your ear canal open. By keeping the canal open, sound and air can enter the ear naturally, which will lessen the feeling of being plugged up, or occluded, and the produced sound is more natural in general. Most RIC/RITE devices are now wireless and have Bluetooth capabilities. This means most of them have the ability to connect to your cell phone to stream calls and music, and to the TV for better speech understanding. Don’t let that intimidate you if you are looking for something simple, these features are just extras that are included in the technology if you decide to use it.

BTE Hearing Aids

Behind-The-Ear (BTE) Styles

BTE style hearing aids are very similar to RIC or RITE styles. The key difference between them is that rather than a thin wire, a plastic tubing connects the outer apparatus to the earbud or earmold that sits in the canal. Standard sized BTEs can fit a wider range of hearing losses, including profound losses. Mini BTEs are similar in size to RIC/RITEs, and the plastic tubing is thinner than standard BTEs. Mini BTEs may be used in place of a RIC/RITE if wax build up is a major concern.

Hearing Aid Technology

Most modern hearing aids come chock-full of impressive technology, however, not every feature is suitable for every person. After evaluating your hearing profile and lifestyle, you and your hearing specialist will come up with a list of features that will best suit your needs. Here is a list of some popular options for the best hearing aids.
Tinnitus Therapy

Tinnitus Therapy

If you suffer from tinnitus, you will most likely want to invest in a hearing aid that has built-in technology to help mask the annoying ringing or buzzing you hear. Most of the hearing aids we work with have sound generators that we can enable if tinnitus therapy is necessary.

Learn more about tinnitus
Bluetooth Hearing Aids

Bluetooth Hearing Aids and Direct Streaming Technology

Most modern hearing aids can be connected with smart devices, such as your phone, television, or a remote microphone, using Bluetooth or other wireless technologies. Many hearing aids can even stream phone conversations, movies, or music directly from your smartphone, computer or other device. Streaming means we essentially turn your hearing aids into headphones, so you will hear the phone conversation, music, or television right through the hearing aids. Streaming the signal you want to hear directly to the hearing aids will give you a much greater chance of not missing a word. If you spend a lot of time listening to music, watching TV, or talking on the phone, this technology will probably be important to you. We will make sure you know how to use this technology, if desired, before leaving our office as we schedule ample time for our clients at Vital Hearing.

Speech Enhancement

Speech Enhancement

All of the hearing aid manufacturers we work with have developed technology that makes listening to speech in quiet or noisy environments easier and more enjoyable than ever. The devices will automatically recognize speech sounds and focus on that as opposed to background noise to make speech more intelligible.  One of our more popular hearing aids can process close to 500 million instructions per second! Try to wrap your head around that.

Geotagging Technologies

Geotagging Technologies

Some people really value newer hearing aids that have geotagging technologies built-in. This technology allows your hearing aids to access maps on your smartphone. Using this location technology, your aids will “know” where you are and will automatically tune your hearing aids to match your needs in that exact location.

For hearing aid fittings or adjustments, visit us at Vital Hearing
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