There are generally two main types of hearing loss:
Conductive Hearing Loss (possible sources may include: a punctured ear drum, wax, birth defects, heredity, etc.) These types of hearing loss are usually treated by a licensed physician, through surgery or other medical treatment. Wax can be removed by a licensed audiologist or a licensed physician. If the loss cannot be treated by a physician, hearing aids may be beneficial for the patient.
Sensorineural (nerve based) A Licensed Audiologist may often improve a sensorineural hearing loss with the use of hearing aids. Sensorineural loss is caused by damage to the inner ear. This damage can be caused by aging, viral or bacterial infections, heredity, trauma, noise exposure, benign tumors, uses of certain drugs, and a variety of other causes. Sensorineural loss often affects selected ranges of hearing, so the degree of hearing loss as well as the frequency range over which the losses are experienced will vary between individuals. Thus, these types of hearing loss require hearing aids which are custom tailored to their particular loss.
The nature and extent of hearing loss, coupled with the particular needs and lifestyle considerations of the patient can affect what type and size of hearing aid may be of greatest benefit to them, and which features may be useful as well.
Types and Sizes of Hearing Aids
Hearing aids come in my different styles and circuitry, which contributes to many new features previously unavailable with older analog hearing aids. Modern hearing aids with digital circuitry can be tailored with special programs for different hearing situations, ability to block out noise, and more. The are available in several sizes, styles and even colors. The type and size your licensed audiologist recommends for you will depend upon your hand dexterity, vision, extent of hearing loss, options you may need, your budget, and any cosmetic concerns you may have. Some examples of the different styles and types are shown below.
CIC (Completely-In-The-Canal) hearing aids are the tiniest ones available. They have a removal string on them to help you get them in and out of your ears. These devices require daily cleaning due to the hearing aid being deep in your ear canal where there is moisture and ear wax.
Canal hearing aids are slightly larger than the CIC models.
ITE (In-The-Ear) devices fill up the bowl of the ear. Half shell hearing aids fill up about ½ of the bowl of the ear.
Open Fit Hearing Aid - This model has a very tiny ear piece, with a smaller behind-the ear hearing aid, allowing for more natural hearing and less "stuffiness" than molded earpieces which fill the ear more.
Deep Canal Extended Wear ("Invisible") Hearing Aid - This type of hearing aid is a very tiny device is inserted deeply into your ear canal, and it works with your ear's natural anatomy to provide a clear and natural sound Two soft, flexible silicone seals are used to ensure a stable placement and comfortable fit. These hearing aids require replacement by an audiologist on an average of every four (4) months.
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