- Disabilities & the Disabled
Invisible Hearing Aids: Types and Prices
Invisible Hearing Aids: Hearing Aids, Types and Prices
Having worked as a registered nurse for the last few years, at a nearby nursing home, I have become no stranger to both caring for those who wear hearing aids, as well as, the actual hearing aids themselves. While hearing loss can originate for a variety of reasons, and can impact just about anyone on the age spectrum or continuum, the onset of old age generally leads to the diminishing of certain senses; hearing just happens to be one of those senses.
For someone with low to severe hearing impairment, there are now a lot of options for hearing augmentation available these days. There are thousands of models of hearing aids, types, and prices to suit almost any need or type of hearing loss. The cutting edge of this technology is in the area of invisible hearing aids. These tiny amplifiers fit into the ear, virtually invisible to the casual observer.
This article is all about the smallest hearing aids available to you. We'll talk about the different varieties of invisible hearing aids and the correlating prices you can expect with them. We'll touch on the intended usage and abilities of each type so you can determine if a particular model is right for you.
Let's begin and look at some invisible hearing instruments now!
Invisible Hearing Aid Types: Smallest Hearing Aids Available
When you're looking for the smallest hearing aid you can find, you're probably seeking to minimize the profile of your hearing instrument. Even though there isn't really a stigma behind these devices anymore, many people are self-conscious of them, or simply tired of explaining what they have in their ear.
Hearing aids generally consist of an amplifier to pick up and raise the volume of ambient sound, a speaker to project the sound into the ear canal, and a power source, usually a small battery. Miniaturization has increased to the point that these items can be made truly tiny, but there are complications still.
The complications lie in keeping an invisible hearing aid functional and dry without losing any of its effectiveness. There are generally three types of invisible hearing aids available to you these days: in the ear hearing aids, in the canal hearing aids, and 'extended wear' completely in the canal hearing aids. These three types are all great options, but they come with varying price points.
In the Ear Hearing Aids: Lowest Price, Highest Profile
One of the most common of the smallest hearing aids out there is the standard 'in the ear' hearing aid. These devices are fitted to fill the portion of the ear directly in front of the ear canal. They fit snugly and are often built to fit a specific person's ear perfectly to eliminate discomfort. They are skin colored and are often only visible from the side.
In the ear hearing aids are effective options for many reasons. They are low maintenance and easy to remove and insert. It's quite simple to change the batteries in these units. If you want to go to sleep or take a swim, it's easy to remove these devices safely.
These digital hearing instruments come with a higher price than comparable wrap-around devices, mostly because they are miniaturized and require some custom fitting. They aren't recommended for children, whose ears will continue to grow.
In the Canal Hearing Aids: Small Hearing Aids, Mid Priced
In the canal hearing aids are some of the smallest hearing aids out there, and they are almost invisible to the naked eye. They operate by similar principles to the in ear varieties, but they are set much farther back into the canal than their larger counterparts. In the canal hearing aids are very small and quite technologically advanced.
An amplifier of this nature is a bit pricier than in the canal versions, and for good reason. They must be custom fitted to your ear by anaudiologist, so they carry a commensurate price tag. They are among the smallest hearing aids and they are virtually invisible: the only way for someone to notice them is by looking directly into your ear, something that doesn't happen frequently.
They do take some getting used to, and you'll likely have to be coached on how to put them in and take them out by your audiologist. They are good for low to moderatehearing loss.
Extended Wear Hearing Aids: Completely In The Canal
There is another option for someone who doesn't want to remove and replace their hearing aids frequently. 'Extended Wear' hearing aids are created with long term wear in mind. These completely in the canal hearing aids fit deep in your ear just in front of the eardrum. They must be fitted by an audiologist, but once they are in place they last anywhere from 1 to 3 months of continuous use. You can sleep and shower with them in.
Obviously these units require fitting by a specialist, and they cannot be removed by the wearer. They last for a long time, but you'll need to go in to have them replaced every so often. You can't do certain activities, such as swimming, because being completely submerged will damage them.
Completely in the canal hearing aids such as these are great for anyone who wants a totally invisible hearing aid option. Likely the only person who would be able to tell you were wearing anything would be a doctor or hearing professional. Aside from the certain restrictions and regular replacement, extended wear hearing aids are fantastic options for anyone shy about their gear.
Invisible Hearing Aids: Other Options
If you haven't found a type of invisible hearing aid that suits your specific needs, there are other options. My first recommendation would be to make an appointment with an audiologist or similar specialist. They will have the ability to make a recommendation based on your personal needs.
If you're looking for truly invisible options, anything beyond a completely in the canal hearing aid will be rather invasive. Cochlear implants are one choice, and those are more suitable for severe hearing loss. Bone anchored hearing aids are another option that uses the bones in your head to amplify sound vibrations. These are most suitable for those who have damage to their pinna, or individuals who cannot make use of ear canal style aids.
Now you have the basic information about invisible hearing aid types. You should make an appointment with a professional and discuss the best options for you.