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Hearing Aid Styles

Hearing aids come in all shapes and sizes.  Depending on the type of hearing loss, the hearing aid will need to amplify to make up the difference. 

The style depends on where the hearing aid is placed (on or inside the ear) and the amount of sound needed to be amplified. 

Open Fit         

The open fit style is usually a very small behind-the-ear hearing aid. Sound travels from the device through a small tube or wire to a speaker in the ear canal.  

Key features:

  • Leaves the ear canal open
  • Doesn’t plug the ear because it is placed behind the ear
  • Less likely to be seen
  • Popular because it reduces or cancels out feedback (example: sound heard when a microphone is held in front of a speaker)
  • May use very small batteries

Custom Fits

The custom fit is a style of hearing aid that is custom molded to fit inside an individual’s ear canal.

They can be completely inside the ear canal, fit partly inside, fill the lower portion of the area of the outer ear, or fill most of the bowl-shaped area of the outer ear.

Key features:

  • Custom fit to an individual’s ear based on plastic mold that is taken in advance
  • Easy to insert into the ear
  • Easy-to-adjust volume control
  • May be more visible than open fit
  • Uses larger batteries, which typically last longer and are easier to handle 


Hearing Aid Selection Process

It may take some time to get used to a hearing aid. Selecting a hearing aid that is easy to use is important.  Other things to think about include the hearing aid parts and services, if there is a warranty, how often it should be maintained or repaired, cost for repairs, upgrade options, and the hearing aid company’s customer service.

Wearing the hearing aid regularly will help.  It will increase a person’s awareness of sound and where it is coming from.

An individual should get to know the features of the hearing aid. When visiting a hearing specialist or audiologist, practice:

  • Using it
  • Placing it
  • Taking it out
  • Cleaning it
  • Knowing the right one and left one
  • Replacing batteries

Test it in different environments to learn how to adjust it.

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