Hearing Aid Styles, Care & Accessories

Hear­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion are essen­tial for avoid­ing iso­la­tion and being able to ful­ly par­tic­i­pate in the activ­i­ties that con­tribute to your qual­i­ty of life. The DuPage Med­ical Group audi­ol­o­gists are doc­tor­al or master’s‑level pro­fes­sion­als, each mem­ber of our team has a pas­sion for pro­vid­ing an out­come that improves your life. Your audi­ol­o­gist and oto­laryn­gol­o­gist are in close con­tact and will work togeth­er to over­see your care. The goal of your care team is to ensure you are sat­is­fied with your hear­ing solu­tion while main­tain­ing com­pet­i­tive costs and state-of-the-art technology.

Your audi­ol­o­gist will advise you on styles appro­pri­ate for your lifestyle, hear­ing loss/​listening needs, desired bud­get, phys­i­cal and visu­al capa­bil­i­ties, as not all styles are appro­pri­ate for every patient. It is impor­tant to remem­ber that like glass­es, hear­ing aids are a pre­scrip­tion with dif­fer­ent require­ments from patient to patient. What works for a friend may not be the opti­mal solu­tion for you. Your hear­ing loss dic­tates your pre­scrip­tion,” how­ev­er, your lifestyle and expec­ta­tions pre­dict fea­tures nec­es­sary to best improve your over­all com­mu­nica­tive abil­i­ties. After your evaluation,our audi­ol­o­gy experts will dis­cuss treat­ment options appro­pri­ate for your spe­cif­ic hear­ing loss that will best address all the fac­tors that con­tribute to suc­cess­ful hear­ing aid use.

See below to learn about hear­ing aid styles, care and help­ful accessories.

How to obtain a hear­ing aid 

The process of obtain­ing your hear­ing aids begins with an eval­u­a­tion with an audi­ol­o­gist to review your needs and hear­ing issues, togeth­er you can reach the deci­sion as to which type of hear­ing aid is best suit­ed for you. An audi­ol­o­gist is a pro­fes­sion­al who is trained to eval­u­ate and treat adults, chil­dren and infants with hear­ing loss. Your audi­ol­o­gist may use a vari­ety of hear­ing tests to make the rec­om­men­da­tion for the best ampli­fi­ca­tion option for your lifestyle and diagnosis.

Once your hear­ing aids are ordered and received from the man­u­fac­tur­er, you will return to your audi­ol­o­gist for a fit­ting. You will learn about the use and care of your hear­ing aids and bat­ter­ies, you will work with your clin­i­cian to learn how to change set­tings and make your hear­ing aids function.

Next, you will wear your hear­ing aids for two weeks, fol­lowed by a return appoint­ment to eval­u­ate how you are accli­mat­ing to ampli­fi­ca­tion. Adjust­ments are made at this appoint­ment and if you require any fur­ther acoustic test­ing it will be per­formed at this time. To obtain the best results, plan to fol­low up annu­al­ly with your audi­ol­o­gist to check their hear­ing sen­si­tiv­i­ty and the func­tion of the hear­ing aids.

Hear­ing Aid Style: Behind-the-Ear (BTE)

Com­po­nents of this hear­ing aid are housed in a small case that rests behind the ear. Sound is direct­ed into the ear through a tube held in place with a cus­tom shell, called an ear­mold, that fits into your ear. This hear­ing aid style allows for the great­est amount of ampli­fi­ca­tion and is espe­cial­ly nec­es­sary for patients with severe or pro­found hear­ing loss. Often patients with lim­it­ed phys­i­cal dex­ter­i­ty appre­ci­ate the eas­i­er-to-manip­u­late size and dura­bil­i­ty of this style of hear­ing aid case. Due to growth, safe­ty, and the like­li­hood of using an addi­tion­al assis­tive lis­ten­ing device in school, this style is often rec­om­mend­ed for children.

Hear­ing Aid Style: Micro Behind-the-Ear (Mini BTE) 

Also referred to as mini behind-the-ear,” these hear­ing aids offer the ben­e­fits of a stan­dard behind-the-ear aid with the addi­tion of improved cos­met­ics and small­er size. Most fea­tures are the same as behind-the-ear mod­els offer, in some cas­es even Blue­tooth capa­bil­i­ties are an option. Rather than a cus­tom ear­mold, the micro behind-the-ear aids often direct the sound into the ear canal through a thin tube and a small dome appeal­ing to the desires of our most cos­met­i­cal­ly con­cerned patients.

Hear­ing Aid Style: Receiv­er in the Canal (RIC)

Receiv­er in the Canal hear­ing instru­ments have quick­ly become one of the most pop­u­lar prod­ucts in recent years. This hear­ing aid mod­el places a speak­er in the ear canal allow­ing reduc­tion in size of behind the ear com­po­nent and a more direct trans­mis­sion of sound to your eardrum. Due to the phys­i­cal sep­a­ra­tion of the ampli­fi­er and micro­phone from the speak­er, these hear­ing aids pro­vide the advan­tages of small­er case size for improved cos­met­ics and com­fort, a more nat­ur­al sound qual­i­ty, and reduced issues with feed­back. Sev­er­al prod­ucts are now avail­able that allow Blue­tooth capa­bil­i­ties allow­ing wire­less stream­ing of phone, music or TV signals.

Options for Sin­gle-Sided Deafness

In some patients, hear­ing loss devel­ops in only one ear, often with a very sud­den onset, while the oppo­site ear con­tin­ues to be able to hear sound nor­mal­ly. This type of hear­ing loss can lead to prob­lems with detect­ing con­ver­sa­tion on the side of the poor ear as well as under­stand­ing speech in loud envi­ron­ments. Ill­ness, expo­sure to sud­den loud nois­es or trau­mat­ic injuries to the ear may be the cause for this type of hear­ing loss. For­tu­nate­ly, there are both sur­gi­cal and non-sur­gi­cal options for address­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tion dif­fi­cul­ties with this type of hear­ing loss.

New onset of sin­gle-sided hear­ing loss always neces­si­tates an eval­u­a­tion with our oto­laryn­gol­o­gy team. Fol­low­ing this con­sul­ta­tion, an appoint­ment may be sched­uled with an audi­ol­o­gist to explore options that may ease your com­mu­ni­ca­tion challenges.

Bat­ter­ies & Maintenance 

Like any piece of tech­nol­o­gy, hear­ing aids can break down and may need to be repaired. Some­times the repairs can be per­formed in the office and oth­er times they may need to be sent out to the man­u­fac­tur­er. There are dif­fer­ent sized bat­ter­ies for dif­fer­ent styles of hear­ing aids. Bat­ter­ies are very inex­pen­sive and can last any­where from five days to two weeks, depend­ing on the size of bat­tery and the use of hear­ing aids.

Ampli­fied Phones

Ampli­fied phones have speak­ers that gen­er­ate a stronger mag­net­ic sig­nal than a typ­i­cal­ly man­u­fac­tured phone. This device is appro­pri­ate for all patients of any age with all degrees of hear­ing loss. If you are inter­est­ed in this tech­nol­o­gy, dis­cuss it with your audi­ol­o­gist at your eval­u­a­tion for hear­ing aids or one of your fol­low-up appointments.

Cel­lu­lar Hands-Free Devices

Many hear­ing aids have acces­sories avail­able that allow cell phone sig­nal to be trans­mit­ted direct­ly to the hear­ing aids. In this way, it allows for hands-free stream­ing of phone calls or music from your Blue­tooth-equipped cell phone. If inter­est­ed in this tech­nol­o­gy, talk with your audi­ol­o­gist at your next appoint­ment to learn about appro­pri­ate devices for your spe­cif­ic cell phone.

Dry & Store

Hear­ing aids are invest­ment, how you care for them will deter­mine how well they per­form and how often you have to seek repair work. The ben­e­fits of using a Dry & Store elec­tri­cal appli­ance include alle­vi­at­ing itchy ears, pro­long bat­tery life, improv­ing sound qual­i­ty and need­ing few­er repairs. Your hear­ing aids will remain in a dry­ing com­part­ment overnight and the device works by remov­ing mois­ture, reduc­ing ear­wax build up and deodor­iz­ing the com­po­nents of your hear­ing aids.