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Hearing Aid Style FAQs

Q. Are hearing aid styles based on hearing loss type?

While all of today’s hearing aids offer exceptional sound quality and comfort, certain styles are better suited to address some types of hearing loss.

For example, if you have profound hearing loss and require a more powerful hearing aid, behind-the-ear hearing aids would be best for you because they hold larger batteries. If you have dexterity issues, very small styles such as in-the-canal or completely-in-the-canal hearing aids may not be the right choice for you, because the controls on these devices are tiny. Your local EarQ provider can work with you to find the style that best matches your needs.

Analog vs. Digital Hearing Aids

All hearing aids receive sound through a microphone and transmit it into the ear through a speaker. However, they process sounds in different ways.
Analog hearing aids convert sound waves into electrical signals which then get amplified. They’re custom built and programmed by the manufacturer based on recommendations from an audiologist or licensed hearing aid dispenser.

Digital hearing aids, on the other hand, convert sound waves into number codes (like a computer) before they get amplified. This helps to make sounds clearer as well as louder, and it gives the hearing health professional more options to program and adjust the aid to your needs and environments.

Open Fit Hearing Aids

Open fit hearing aids do not completely fill your ear canal. Instead, an open fit device is usually a very small behind-the-ear hearing aid with a small tube or wire that connects to a speaker in the ear canal.

Key features: 

  • Leaves the ear canal open; doesn’t plug the ear
  • Reduces or cancels out feedback (like that sound when a microphone is held too close to a speaker)
  • May use very small batteries
  • Better for those with tinnitus because plugging the ear can make symptoms louder

Custom Fit Hearing Aids

Custom fit hearing aids are just that—custom molded to fit inside your ear canal. They can be completely inside the ear canal, fit partly inside, fill the lower portion of the outer ear, or fill most of the bowl-shaped area of the outer ear.

Key features:

  • 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

Cochlear Implants

Cochlear implants are small electronic devices that are surgically placed under the skin behind the ear. They help people with severe or profound hearing loss or deafness. They work by avoiding the damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulating the auditory nerve. The auditory nerve then sends the signals directly to the brain so that you can recognize sound patterns.

Bone-Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA)

As the name suggests, a bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) is surgically attached to the bone behind your ear. These small devices can transmit sound vibrations directly to your inner ear through your skull, avoiding the middle ear completely. Therefore, a bone-anchored hearing aid may be an option for you if your hearing loss stems from problems in the middle ear.

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