For people experiencing minor to severe hearing loss, there are several styles of hearing aids that are more discreet and compact than the traditional behind-the-ear (BTE) models. These units tend to be pricier for numerous reasons. Because they are smaller in size they require smaller components that are capable of performing the same tasks as those found in BTEs. When it comes to electronics, smaller components equate to higher cost. These models are placed inside the ear, as opposed to being worn behind, and must be custom fitted. This means molding and casting the bodies, or housings, to match each patient's ear. This alone increases the cost but also the accuracy, comfort, and sound quality delivered. |
The in-the-ear (ITE) styled hearing aid, also called a full-shell, is one of the largest of the non BTE models. It consists of a single housing that inserts directly into the ear. Being on the larger side, ITEs come equipped with larger batteries that deliver longer life and increased amplification ranges. The surface area is ample enough to have manual controls for immediate adjustments. Because the ITE fits directly into the ear, they must be custom molded to the user. This ensures maximum comfort, security, and ease of placement and removal.
Microphone-in-concha (MIC) models are nearly identical to the ITEs, except in the location of the microphone. MIC units consist of housing that sits in the ear canal with a clear plastic tube that extends to the concha, where the microphone rests. By resting the microphone within the natural curvature of the ear, it takes advantage of the biological acoustics while remaining discreet and concealed. This location makes the MIC style ideal for active individuals who enjoy spending time outside, as it protects the microphone from wind noise. The main housing component requires custom molding in order to sit securely within the canal.
Both the ITE and MIC units are partially visible, but much less so than most BTEs. The two least conspicuous styles are the completely-in-canal (CIC) and in-the-canal (ITC). The ITC style is a medium sized unit that can provide amplification for mild to moderate hearing loss. These units require a custom mold to ensure a comfortable and secure fit. Their size allows for a relatively long battery life and a few pushbutton controls.
The smallest style is the CIC. These rest deep within the canal and are the least noticeable hearing aids. This exceptional concealment sacrifices battery life and adjustment controls. Due to their size, CICs have smaller batteries with weaker amplification ranges. Because they are recessed deeply into the canal these units are exposed to earwax and moisture. This requires diligent cleaning and preventative maintenance by the user. All of the aforementioned styles conceal the hearing aids to differing degrees and offer similar levels of amplification with subtle differences in functionality and features.
For more information on hearing aids, Detroit, MI locals turn to: http://www.beltonehearingaid.com.
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