Pros and Cons of Small Hearing Aids

Here are the pros and cons of small hearing aids. Hearing aids used to be large clunky plastic shells over the inner workings which needed large batteries and frequent cleanings. And even when they were clean, they would appear dingy because the plastic would lose its color. They were, well, obvious. There was no way to style your hair around them, you couldn’t use a phone or wear a headset if you needed one for your job. What a mess.

These days, newer hearing aid models are tiny, and they fit in your ear canal. The first step to treating hearing loss, of course, is getting a hearing test at Hearing Group. Then a professional will go over your results and your options with you.

In-the-Ear Hearing Aids

There are basically two types of in-the-ear hearing aids. One is a custom-fit aid and it is put in your ear by a professional. It rests near the eardrum at the second bend of the ear canal and it is truly invisible. The other, also custom made, goes in the ear and has a tiny handle so the person wearing it can remove it.

You may want the in-the-ear models because you think the other types make you look old, or they just look cumbersome. But in-the-ear models are not for everyone. They are an exciting technological advancement for many wearers. In addition to being discreet, they do have some sound quality advances and they allow you to use headsets and earphones. And, you don’t have to worry about trying to match the device to your skin tone or hair color.

Advantages of In-the-Ear Hearing Aids

They are attractive and discreet. In addition, they are as close to invisible as you can get because they have no external tubes or wires. They are lightweight and custom-fitted so most wearers find them quite comfortable. It is easier to use a telephone, headset, or sound-reducing headphones with them. The outer ear acts as a block against the wind and they don’t make a whistling noise so outdoor enthusiasts find them very attractive.

Because they are located close to the eardrum in the ear canal, most wearers say they produce a natural sound. Hearing device wearers describe the sound from over the ear or outside the ear hearing aids as if you are talking into a barrel. They find in the ear devices eliminate that issue and help with the better hearing of high-frequency sounds and voices.

They need less power to work because they are closer to the eardrum. This means they are less likely to have feedback issues. New materials mean they are resistant to moisture and have less ear wax issues than older models. The newer material is also softer and more conforming to the inside of the ear. They are water-resistant and some are even waterproof and are advertised as being submergible.

Disadvantages of In-the-Ear Hearing Aids

There are trade-offs because of the small size. The batteries don’t last as long because they are smaller. Typically, behind the ear model batteries last for between 110 and 113 hours. The in the ear model batteries typically last between 61 and 98 hours. Some people just can?t stand having something in their ear and they find these models very annoying. Ultimately, they stop wearing them.

Another disadvantage to in-the-ear models is that they are not really suitable for those with severe hearing loss. They work best for individuals who have slight to moderate hearing loss. If your hearing is worse than moderate the behind the ear model devices pack more punch and will make you a lot happier!

In-the-ear models don’t fit everyone’s ears. The inside of your ear is unique. In order to make the device specifically for your ear, they will create a mold of your ear canal. Some ear canals are too short to handle the device or the canal has a shape that causes a very poor fit.

The smaller size means they have limited features like no directional microphones which many find useful if they are involved in social or work situations in large areas with a noisy environment. The controls are smaller and harder to see so they are not suited for those with vision or dexterity issues.

The first step to better hearing and finding which devices are best for you is calling and scheduling a hearing test. After determining what, if any hearing issues you face, the team at Hearing Group will find you hearing aids that work for you!

Jesse Hidalgo, BC-HIS

Jesse is Board Certified in Hearing Instruments and has built over 25 practices during his business career starting in 1998. Using his training in Hearing Instrument Sciences he has helped thousands of patients across those practices hear better.
Published: August 24, 2018

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