From 2020 to 2021, the hearing aid clinics industry increased by 2.4 percent, which comes out to be worth around 2.5 billion dollars in care.
For those who have been dealing with hearing loss, the chances are they need medical help and will be recommended hearing aids. Hearing aids are the most common form of treatment for hearing loss.
Let’s take a closer look at what hearing loss is, how hearing aids help, and how to go about putting on and removing these devices.
Degrees of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is the depreciation of an individual's ability to hear certain frequencies at certain decibel level thresholds. For someone who has normal, healthy hearing, they will naturally have a very low hearing threshold. As a person’s hearing depreciates or is lost, their hearing threshold rises.
For someone with a hearing threshold of sixty decibels or higher, they have moderately severe hearing loss. These individuals may have trouble hearing someone talking directly to them in a crowded environment. It is at this threshold that most people can begin to look for financial aid before starting treatment.
Common Hearing Aid Styles
For those who have hearing loss, there are several factors to consider. Learning about what options for hearing aids are available to purchase and how to interact while living with a hearing impairment can be overwhelming. Even when it comes to hearing aids themselves, you have to learn how to insert them and take them out properly for the aids to work.
The good news is that these little pieces of technology are simple and easy to use. While it may seem like a lot to learn, only a few kinds of hearing aids follow similar rules.
When it comes to hearing aids, there are two general styles of hearing aids that you need to know about. They include behind the ear (BTE) and in the ear (ITE) hearing aids. No matter what kind of hearing aid you may purchase, it will be a variant of these two categories.
Behind the Ear Style
Two kinds of hearing aids fall into the behind-the-ear style category include traditional BTE and RIC, or receiver in the canal. These devices are similar and use similar designs for how they stay fixed to your ear.
Typically, both kinds are composed of two units with a third connection piece between them. They anchor to the ear via the connection piece, with one past of the aid being lodged inside the canal and the other placed behind the ear.
The most significant difference between the two styles is that with behind the ear devices, the speaker (a component you can think of as the receiver), is cased in a hard shell that fits and almost hides behind the ear. In the case of a RIC, the receiver is housed inside the ear canal itself.
The significance of a BTE unit is that it has more room to carry a larger battery and receiver. This benefits anyone who may have more severe hearing loss and needs some extra power to boost frequencies to the desired decibel threshold.
The RIC unit is also a powerful device that can improve hearing loss; however, it may not be the right option if the hearing loss is severe. The main benefit of this model is that it helps with hearing loss without the weight and visibility of a BTE unit.
In the Ear Style
This second style of hearing aid also comes with two popular categories. A person looking to get in the ear style hearing aids will have to choose between the standard ITE style or the more discrete, IIC, invisible-in-canal style.
Both are smaller than BTE hearing aid styles, and both ITEs have similar performance. The more noticeable ITE is a small, all-in-one hearing aid device that can custom fit your ear. As the name implies, this device sits inside the ear and is easily visible.
The more discrete sibling of this hearing aid is the invisible-in-canal hearing aid. The IIC device is also composed of one single unit and is the smallest style of hearing aid on the market and is designed to sit past the opening of your ear canal, just out of sight from a casual onlooker.
Putting On and Removing Hearing Aids
Putting and removing hearing aids can be daunting. The hearing aids themselves are not only expensive but hard to place in your ears while coordinating with a mirror properly. We want to encourage you that despite a learning curve, it is easy to attain this skill.
Here are tips to help you master it.
Behind the Ear
These device variants of BTE and RIC are very similar. However, when placing them on your ear, it is important to note that the behind-the-ear model will use a typical metal wire for a connection piece. In contrast, the receiver-in-canal model will use a hollow, plastic tube that should not be pinched or compressed.
Both models can be held by the tops of the hearing aids gently using the thumb and forefinger.
Bring the device close to your ear and position it where the battery is located. This part of the hearing aid slides over your ear and secures gently but firmly behind it. At this point, you will have the second unit of the hearing aid - commonly known as the dome - dangling in front of your ear canal.
Here, a practical word of advice is that while you are trying to be careful, do not be afraid of breaking this device. Be gentle but firm.
Take the dome and place it in your ear canal. Use a rubbing, circular motion on the outside of your ear canal to firmly establish this part of your device deeper into your ear canal.
When it comes to taking out both styles of behind-the-ear devices, simply remove the back end of the hearing device from behind your ear and gently tug the dome out of your ear canal.
After a few times, the process will become a habit. For most people the learning process is relatively fast.
In the Ear
Both styles of in-the-ear hearing aids are similar with the addition of a small string for removal of the invisible option. These hearing aids are designed to fit into your ear canal and are composed of one piece. They are similar to putting in earbuds or even earplugs.
Most units will have a battery door that should be facing outside the ear canal. Once that is facing the correct direction, simply place the end that inserts into the canal gently into your ear and use your thumb and forefinger to move the earpiece into your ear. A gentle twisting motion works well for this as the hearing aid is designed to sit in the bowl of your ear.
For removal, simply use your index finger to release the hearing aid from your ear gently. While it is designed to fit inside your ear canal snuggly, it also removes easily with minimal amounts of pressure.
For invisible-in-canal hearing aids, the process is similar using the string attached by the manufacturer. These hearing aids are small and designed not to be noticeable inside the ear canal. Removal may require you to briefly move them deeper into your ear; then, the process is similar. You simply tug the removal string gently. It is important to learn not to tug too aggressively since the ear canal skin is very sensitive.
One Size Fits All
Our EVI and EV3 hearing aids are ITE, and one size fits all hearing aids are designed to be comfortable, safe, and quickly placed and removed. Our design is not custom-built; however, we are confident that over ninety percent of the people who try our product will find that this comfortable design works well for their hearing needs at affordable prices.
"Learning how to place and remove hearing aids is part of the overall process in using them successfully. Most people become experts quickly." - Drew Sutton, MD, Board-Certified Otolaryngologist.
If you want to learn more about our affordable, high-quality hearing aids, click here.