At Candice van Heerden Audiology we are able to assist patients with the majority of hearing aid manufacturers and brands.
There are 6 major hearing aid manufacturers worldwide namely: Starkey, Oticon, Siemens, Widex, Unitron and Phonak.
All hearing aid manufacturers have hearing aids in different styles and technology levels. You can equate this to a car manufacturer who has a certain car model available with different engine capacities eg: 1.2, 1.4 or 1.6 liter. The difference between these technology levels is the sound quality of the hearing aid and how they function in the presence of background noise.
The image below reflects how certain levels of technology are insufficient in certain listening environments. The audiologist will assist you in choosing the appropriate style of hearing aid and level of technology best suitable to you based on your hearing loss, needs and most importantly your lifestyle.
There are three common hearing aid styles amongst all hearing aid manufacturers.
CIC (Completely In the Canal).
ITC (In The Canal).
ITE (In The Ear).
The audiologist will discuss which of these styles is best suited to you taking into account the severity of your hearing loss, ear canal size and needs regarding button’s and volume controls. In certain instances the audiologist may find that you are not a candidate for a custom hearing aid due to your lifestyle or other ear related conditions such as an ear drum perforation.
RIC’s are fairly new hearing aids on the market. They sit behind the ear but are smaller than typical BTE hearing aids. RIC hearing aids differ from BTE’s because they have a thin wire with a receiver on the end which sits in the ear canal. The benefits of having the receiver in the canal are twofold; improved cosmetic appeal as well as improved sound quality as the speaker sits closer to the ear drum. RIC’s are very sensitive to moisture and wax so the audiologist will advise whether they feel you are a candidate for this hearing aid.
3. Behind the ear (BTE):
BTE’s are no longer large banana shaped hearing aids of the past. They are now available in small sizes with a sleek design. BTE’s can be used with a slim tube (small, discreet tube connecting the hearing aid to the ear) or an ear mould. The decision of whether to use a slim tube or ear mould is based on the severity of your hearing loss and ear canal size and shape.
Hearing aid technology is constantly improving and updating. Recently Wireless products have been introduced into the market allowing the patient to connect the hearing aid to other devices such as cell phones, laptops, TV’s and landline phones. The majority of hearing aids require a separate Bluetooth adapter to be worn around the neck allowing connectivity to wireless devices. There are however new products on the market which can connect directly to an Apple iPhone without the need of a separate Bluetooth device.
Another new feature available on hearing aids is using an APP on your cell phone to adjust the hearing aid settings such as volume and program changes. Certain high end hearing aids also allow you to make adjustments to the quality of the sound via an App on the cell phone. Apps are a fantastic way of allowing patients to improve the sound quality without bringing attention to their hearing aids as they do not have to touch them and anyone would just assume they were busy on their phone.
The majority of hearing aids make use of disposable batteries. These batteries can last anywhere from 3 to 14 days depending on the size of the battery and the type of the hearing aid. Certain Siemens hearing aids are able to be recharged with a hearing aid charger. Should you be interested in rechargeable hearing aids contact the audiologist to discuss whether you are a candidate.
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