A Brief Guide on Different Types of Hearing Machines along with Their Benefits and Drawbacks

Gone are those days of analogue hearing machines. In today’s era of technology, people used to depend on digital hearing machine owing to many reasons. Nevertheless, there are mainly 5 major types of digital hearing aids available on the market. The types are mainly categorised based on the placement of the devices in or on the ears.

Types of digital hearing machines

Here is a quick and brief discussion on major types of digital hearing aids as well as their pros and cons.

1. Mini-behind-the-ear hearing devices or mBTE

This type is also known as RIC (receiver-in-the-canal), RITA (receiver-in-the-aid), RITE (receiver-in-the-ear) and CRT (canal-receiver-technology). The receiver or the speaker to send sounds into inner ear is placed inside ear canal. It remains attached to your ear with a thin wire as well as a tailored earmold. This earmold has to be custom made so it fits to the ear, snugly.

Benefits
• It is barely visible
• It avoids that annoying plugged-up feel
• Larger ones can be easily inserted

Drawbacks
• Moisture and wax buildup inside the ear can lessen the receiver’s life
• It is not perfect for significant amplification (low frequency)

2. Conventional behind-the-ear hearing devices or BTE

Every electronic component of the aids belonging to this group of hearing machine is kept in plastic case. The device is worn behind your ear. The sound gets into the ear via a tubing connecting the case to a custom made earmold and the receiver.

Benefits
• Its features are flexible
• It allows notable amount of both low and high frequency amplification
• It is perfect for people with severe hearing impairment
• Larger models are easily manipulated, telecoil mode can be easily chosen and used
• Customised earmold can be cleaned easily
• It can be accommodated with larger batteries for extra power
• It fits snugly

Drawbacks
• Custom earmolds are sometimes visible
• It is prone to wax and sweat buildup
• There may be a plugged-up feeling unless the earmold fits snugly

3. Completely-in-the-canal hearing devices or CIC

Benefits
• It is recessed into ear canal to fit snugly in the ear
• It leaves very little feedback if used with a phone
• It ensures low visibility
• It can be removed easily with a removal string
• It features less sensitivity to the noise of wind

Drawbacks
• It is very small that directional microphone can’t be included
• Directional sensitivity is found
• Plugged-up feeling is possible if the aid is not vented
• It is susceptible to moisture and wax buildup
• It accommodates a small battery and thus has less battery life
• Batteries are hard to remove owing to small size
• It is hard to handle and adjust

4. In-the-canal hearing devices or ITC

Benefits
• It is hardly visible
• It leaves less scope of plugged-up feeling as it fits deep inside the canal
• Larger versions can be equipped with directional microphones

Drawbacks
• Discomfort is often experienced by the users
• It is prone to moisture
• Receiver is prone to be clogged due to earwax
• Battery is small and thus the battery life is less
• It is difficult to adjust and manage

5. Conventional in-the-ear hearing devices

Benefits
• Offers maximum space for components like directional microphones, telecoil and wireless streaming
• It gives less plugged-up feeling if vented
• It is easy to insert
Drawbacks
• It is considered to be visible by some users
• Telecoil is not much powerful as it is small in size

These are the pros and cons related to different types of hearing aids.

by RK Hear Care