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Three types of hearing aid that could help with your hearing loss

by Jeff Reynolds

For anyone suffering from hearing loss, hearing aids can make a huge difference. They work by amplifying the sound that comes into your ear and screening out some of the background noise that can make it hard to distinguish sounds properly. There are several types of hearing aid available.

In the Ear

This type of hearing aid is a single unit with the batteries, microphone and processor all combined. They are small enough to fit entirely within the ear, although they can vary as to how far in the ear they are placed. They, therefore, have the enormous advantage that they are very discreet — most people will not notice that you have a hearing aid. You will also be able to wear glasses or any kind of hairstyle you like without interfering with them.

It is worth remembering however that some people want their hearing aid to be visible, as others are more likely to speak clearly and directly when they can see it. This type can also lead to a "plugged ear" feeling which many people find uncomfortable, and its small size means that it can be difficult to use properly, particularly for people who have mobility issues with their hands or vision loss.

Behind the Ear

These hearing aids are much more visible. Most of the unit, including the receiver, sits behind the ear, but it is connected by a tube to an earpiece that sits in the ear canal. They are larger than in-the-ear aids, and so are easier to clean and change the batteries; they can also be bought with rechargeable batteries.

However, their size can also be a disadvantage. They can cause problems with people who wear glasses and are not as discreet as in-the-ear models.

Receiver in the Ear

These types of hearing aids are similar to behind-the-ear models, as most of the unit sits behind the ear with a small piece in the ear canal. With these aids, however, it is the receiver (or speaker) that sits in the ear, connected by a wire to the rest of the unit. One advantage here is that the receiver doesn't block the ear so that natural sounds can still get in. This means your audiologist can program the unit to amplify only the frequencies you have difficulty hearing, allowing you to hear other sounds naturally.

If you are in any doubt, just talk to your audiologist about your options. They can provide further information regarding hearing aids.