What Kind of Hearing Aids Can I Choose From?

The recommendation and selection of hearing aids for each individual that consults with Kaczmarski Hearing Services is based upon a thorough evaluation of the individual’s type, degree, and configuration of hearing loss, combined with a discussion of the individual’s daily lifestyle activities, with an emphasis on determining those particular listening environments that are difficult for that individual.

Digital hearing aids are available in several levels of sophistication of digital electronic features and functions, and these are matched to the lifestyle needs of each individual. Digital hearing aids can be generally classified into four levels of electronic digital features and functions: basic features and function for those with sedentary lifestyles in quiet environments most of the time, such as the home environment; entry-level function for those with somewhat quiet lifestyles but with some activity that requires being in a car, or in church, or in low levels of competing background noise; mid-level features and function for those with an average level of activity in varying sound environments that often have background noise such as daily car travel, restaurants, shopping, church, office, group activities and meetings, or outdoor activities; and advanced features and function for the most active individuals that are often in noisy surroundings and challenging listening environments on a daily basis such as frequent dining in noisy restaurants, shopping in grocery stores and malls, in church groups, in varying office environments, in meetings, at outdoor sports and events, in interactions with all age groups, and attendance at concerts or plays in large auditoriums or performance halls.

It is important to suit the features and function of digital hearing aids to the needs of the individual so that the aid can provide the best possible aided performance for that individual and their unique listening environments, without being ‘overfit’ - more features than are needed, or that won’t be used; or ‘underfit’ - insufficient features to handle the demands of a challenging listening environment. In this way, appropriate expectations can be set, and then met, for aided hearing ability for each individual by appropriately fitting the digital hearing aids that can meet that individual’s unique listening needs.

Types of Hearing Aids

There are five basic types of hearing instruments:

  • Behind-the-ear (BTE)
  • In-the-ear (ITE)
  • In-the-canal (ITC)
  • Completely-in-the-canal (CIC)
  • Invisible Open Technology™ (IOT)