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Small Hearing Aids – Are They for Me?

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You’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss and hearing aids are recommended by your audiologist. Thanks to today’s advancing technology, you have a variety of styles and features to choose from, including some that are virtually invisible, rechargeable or can connect to your phone. Which one should you choose?

I want something discrete! 

Today's hearing aid manufacturers offer many small hearing aid options.

The most discreet small hearing aids include custom styles like completely in the canals (CIC) and invisible in the canals (IIC). Both of these types fit deep inside the ear canal, hidden in the contours of the ear. Lyric is another IIC that is extended wear, staying in your ear for months at a time with no battery to change and shares the invisibility feature you may be after.

Although social stigmas may have you leaning toward smaller, more discreet custom devices, these models aren’t suitable for everyone. How do you know if they are right for you? Here are a few pros and cons for you to consider.

Pros

Attractive and discreet

  • Invisibility.
  • No external tubes or wires.
  • Custom molded and comfortable.

Functionality

  • Easier to use telephones and headsets.
  • Less likely to pick up wind noise when you're enjoying outdoor activities.
  • They need less power to transmit sound due to their location in the ear, which means they are less likely to produce feedback (whistling).

Cons

Not a good fit for all

  • Not suitable for people with severe, more advanced hearing loss. They work best for mild to moderate losses. 
  • Don’t fit everyone’s ear canal. Those with short or differently-shaped ear canals have more difficulty wearing them as the manufacturer may not be able to make them as small as anticipated.

Small size means some trade-offs

  • If device uses batteries, they must be changed more often. According to a June 2016 article in HearingTracker.com, batteries in BTE hearing aids last between 110-135 hours while those powering smaller devices last between 61-98 hours.
  • Limited features. There isn’t enough room for directional microphones, one of the most helpful advanced technologies for hearing in background noise. 
  • Controls are harder to see and feel, and the batteries can be tricky to replace -- so small hearing aids aren’t suitable for those with vision and/or dexterity problems

What if small hearing aids aren't right for you?

If your audiologist discourages you from wearing small custom hearing aids, it doesn't mean you are destined for devices that won't suit your style.

Small hearing aids aren't the only types that can be super discreet. Inconspicuous behind the ear hearing aids called receiver in the ear (RITE) or receiver in the canal (RIC) have surged in popularity in recent years in part because they are extremely discreet when worn. They are coupled to the ear canal with a very thin, clear tube that will easily go unnoticed. The colors of the devices are designed to blend with most any hair or skin color. 

Talk to one of our Doctors of Audiology

If this all sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. This isn’t a decision you have to make on your own. Your lifestyle, listening environments and budgetary concerns will help determine which hearing devices are best suited for your hearing loss.  Get a personalized plan at Complete Hearing.

It all begins with a hearing evaluation and consultation.   Call us Today!

Contributions by Debbie Clason, Healthy Hearing & Dr. Sandra Miler