There are many hearing aid types, features, prices and styles to consider. When determining which hearing aids are best for you, you need to consider various factors to ensure you make the right choice. The following is a guide on the most important considerations you need to take into account when you are considering your hearing aid choices. Not all hearing aids are suited to all hearing losses. You need to consider the type of hearing loss you have, the extent of loss (how bad your hearing is), and the configuration of your hearing loss (what your test results look like). The configuration of hearing loss is usually the main consideration when a particular style is recommended to you The most common hearing loss configurations are a sloping loss and a flat loss.
The sloping hearing loss is the most common configuration seen by audiologists. These types of losses are common for those suffering presbyopia (age-related hearing loss), or noise induced hearing loss. Broadly speaking, hearing aid style can be broken up into two categories, behind-the ear and in-the-ears styles. Behind-the-ear (BTE) Australian Hearing aids come in a few sub-categories, Standard, Open fit, and receiver in canal. They all are comprised of the hearing aid which sits behind the ear, and something which delivers the sound into the ear canal. Open fit BTE’s are designed for sloping losses. They reduce the amount of occlusion effect the wearer may experience, and will minimize the adverse effect (echo, loudness) of your own voice that you perceive whilst using the hearing aid. People with sloping losses are most susceptible to this effect, which and is a high area of concern for hearing aid users. The drawback of open fit hearing aids is the higher risk of acoustic feedback (or whistle) which the user may experience.
If you have hearing loss which goes into the moderately-severe range, you may be best suited to a standard BTE. This will minimize feedback whilst leaving the ear canal as open as possible through venting of the ear mold. Cosmetically, the open fit BTE or RIC aid are the most appealing on the market, particularly if the wearer has hair covering the behind the ear part of the device. Receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids share almost all the beneficial properties of open fit aids, but often have a larger volume range before feedback is an issue. These hearing aids are now some of the most popular on the market. They have the same cosmetic appeal as open fit BTE’s, and are able to fit much more severe losses than them.