Hearing aids for seniors should be durable and they should go with the owner’s lifestyle and preferences. There are different types of hearing aids and choosing the right one can be a bit confusing, especially for newbies. To help you choose the best hearing aid, we will share various types of hearing aids based on your condition as well as the top hearing aid choices you should consider.
Definition of Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are small devices that help people with hearing loss hear sounds in their environment louder and clearer. Some hearing aids need their batteries replaced every week or month while other types have built-in batteries that can be recharged when necessary.
Hearing aids have three essential parts including the microphone, amplifier, and speaker. The microphone is responsible for receiving sounds from the environment while the amplifier amplifies these sounds to make them louder for the person to hear. The speaker then will transmit the amplified sounds to the hearer’s ears.
Types of Hearing Aids for Seniors
There are generally five types of hearing aids based on style and usage. These include:
- Behind-the-ear (BTE) - As the name suggests, BTEs are intended to be placed just behind your ear. This type of hearing aid can be used by seniors with mild to profound hearing loss. Also, because BTEs have several parts, they may require skilled and well-coordinated hands in wearing them.
- In-the-canal (ITC) - If you want to make wearing hearing aids more discreet, ITC types may be a good choice, unlike other types of hearing aids, ITCs are intended to fit deep into your ear canal. However, these types can be more difficult to handle because of their smaller size compared to BTEs. Another variation of ITC is the CIC or the Completely-in-the-canal type of hearing aid. This device is smaller and more discreet than ITCs.
- In-the-ear (ITE) - Unlike BTE and ITC, ITEs are bigger which means they are easier to handle and wear. These types of hearing aids are a good option for seniors with poor hand coordination.
- Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) - These types of hearing aids are a bit similar to ITEs wherein the body or receiver sits just behind your ear and the thin receiver wire goes over your ear into your ear canal. Also, just like ITEs, RITEs may require skilled hands in wearing them.
- CROS or BiCROS type - CROS means Contralateral Routing of Signals and BiCROS means Bilateral Contralateral Routing of Signals. These types of hearing aids are prescribed to seniors with different levels of hearing loss in each ear. This works by wearing a single microphone hearing aid on the ear that has better hearing while wearing a double microphone on the ear that has more severe hearing loss.
Other Types of Hearing Aids
Aside from the five hearing aid types mentioned above, other types of hearing aids include:
- Rechargeable hearing aids - These are hearing aids with built-in batteries that are rechargeable.
- Non-rechargeable hearing aids - These types require battery replacement weekly or monthly.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids - There are certain types of hearing aids that can be bought over the counter. These hearing aids fit seniors with mild to moderate hearing loss.
- Prescription hearing aids - From the term itself, these hearing aids are prescribed by doctors and it usually caters to patients with moderate to severe hearing loss.
Benefits of Hearing Aids
While hearing aids can be quite expensive, especially for retired seniors, they are still a good investment. Hearing aids offer many benefits to seniors including:
- Relieves the strain of hearing - People with hearing loss struggle to hear properly, thus straining their ears. Hearing aids help relieve this strain by helping them hear sounds around them with more loudness and clarity.
- Improves hearing ability even in noisy environments - Though hearing aids do not entirely remove background noises, they still do improve the quality of sounds you hear. Opting for hearing aids with dual microphones is better in filtering out noises compared to standard ones.
- Improves communication - Hearing loss undoubtedly affects one’s ability to communicate. One of the essential purposes of hearing aids is to address this issue. Hearing aids improve your ability to hear to be able to communicate effectively in every situation.
- Reduce the risk of falls - Hearing loss affects one’s ability to hear not just the person you are talking to but also sound signals that indicate hazards or danger. According to the National Institute of Aging, even mild hearing loss triples one’s risk of falls. Generally, people with hearing loss are not aware of their surroundings, which may lead them to get side swept by a fast-moving vehicle, get bumped by a random passerby, or get tripped by stray animals.
- Improves overall health - According to a study, hearing aids are proven to improve one’s overall health by reducing the risk of Dementia, falls, anxieties, and depression among people with hearing loss.
Top Hearing Aid Choices for Seniors
Now that you know the types of hearing aids and the benefits they can offer, you may be wondering what would be the best hearing aid choice. In this section, we will share five of the best hearing aid choices for seniors.
Jabra Enhance is one of the most recommended hearing aid brands for seniors. Its services include free check-ups, discounts, and free trials which make them a good option for seniors new to hearing aids. Jabra Enhance is also known for its high-quality hearing aids, which is an investment worth paying for.
Lexie is another reliable company when it comes to hearing aids. Other than its affordability and flexible payment options, it offers high-quality hearing aids with various features of your liking. Additionally, Lexie hearing aids can be purchased over the counter.
A widely known hearing aid manufacturer. Phonak has been around for 70 years and served millions of people with hearing loss towards better hearing. Most of Phonak’s hearing aids cater to people with mild to moderate hearing loss. Though compared to its competitors, its pricing is more expensive but of high quality.
This company is known for its rechargeable types of hearing aids which are good options for seniors who usually forget to replace their hearing aid batteries. With its powerful rechargeable battery that can last up to 23 hours, it is a sure-win investment for anyone opting for rechargeables. ReSound also ensures its hearing aids meet their high-quality standards.
Oticon is one of the leading hearing aid manufacturers in the market and it caters to people having mild to profound hearing loss as well as people who have one-sided hearing loss. Oticon also uses cutting-edge technology that can cater to almost any case of hearing loss. It even offers personalization services based on the patient’s needs.
Hearing aids offer many benefits to seniors with hearing loss. It not only helps them acquire sound signals around them, but it also reduces the risk of falls and it promotes overall health. While there are many types of hearing aids, your healthcare provider can help you decide what’s the best based on your condition and needs.