Why Choose Open Ear Hearing Aids?

There have been several momentous changes in the production and manufacture of hearing aids, but none so dramatic as the introduction of digital technology.

Firstly, there was the traditional ear trumpet. Then, the first proper hearing aids were introduced, in the form of the little box, which would sit around the neck or in a breast pocket. That was known as the ‘body worn’ hearing aid.

Then the first behind the ear aids were made, which were large and cumbersome, but sat behind the ear, and had the microphone pointing in the direction that the ear pointed, which in itself was a big advance.

Then analogue ‘in the ear’ hearing aids were produced, which were the first systems to pay heed to cosmetic requirements.

Hearing aids that were analogue but programmable came next, and then soon after that was the advent of open ear hearing aids. These revolutionised the hearing profession, giving extra clarity, noise filters, dual microphones and an accurate programming ability. When we look at original digital hearing aids now, they seem as antiquated as an analogue aids would have done when digital first became available, but at the time they were groundbreaking.

Technology in the hearing profession has moved at an astonishing pace in the last five years or so.

The biggest breakthrough for the hearing aid wearer is the open fit devices. The first of these was the Resound Hearing Aid called the Contact Air. This comprised of a small pod behind the ear using size 10 hearing battery, a very thin tube to carry the sound into the ear, where it connected to a soft dome, which fitted snugly in the ear canal. These were amazingly popular and successful, and were responsible for a revolution in hearing aid technology. The Delta was the first Oticon hearing system to incorporate an open fit and the Savia Art and Audeo are some of the early open fit Phonak Hearing Aids. The Delta from Oticon (which has now been superseded by the Dual Mini) introduced RITE (receiver in the ear) technology, which removed the acoustic vagaries of thin tubing, as the tubing itself was replaced by a wire which carried the sound electronically to the speaker, which was housed underneath the soft rubbery dome.

But what makes them so special?

There are several reasons why an open fitting hearing aid will always be preferable.

1. Comfort. Because there is no mould to seal the ear, the rubber dome sits snugly in the ear canal, preventing unnecessary perspiration and allowing the ear to ‘breathe’ as it would if no hearing aid was worn. I have often heard people say ‘I don’t know I’m wearing them’ as they are so light and comfortable.

2. Quality of hearing. The basis of an open ear fitting is that it allows the wearer to use the percentage of hearing he or she still has remaining, but is given a boost (usually in mid and high pitch sound) to aid clarity with the hearing of speech. This effect has given us the nearest we can achieve to normal hearing via hearing aids.

3. Cost. Open ear hearing aids are factory made and do not cost as much to manufacture as a custom-made in the ear hearing aid. Therefore, higher technology specifications are available at lower price ranges. The fact that they are factory manufactured also means the instruments are more reliable than in the ear hearing aids.

4. Discretion. Due to the very thin wire and small ‘pod’ sitting behind the ear, open fit hearing aids tend to be very discrete and largely invisible.

OK, so how do I get one?

If you are interested in finding out more about open ear hearing aids, or more about the latest digital hearing aids

the first step is to contact your local hearing aid retailer. It is advisable to mention Phonak, Resound and Oticon hearing aids, as these are the market leaders in regards to technology.

Once you have ascertained that your retailer will deal with the above mentioned brands, the next step is to ask for a free hearing test and a possible demonstration of open ear hearing aids. When you have had your free hearing test, the hearing-aid audiologist will give you a demonstration of the hearing aids recommended and discuss hearing aid prices. You may also like to ask about the aftercare offered by the retailer, and the cost of hearing aid batteries. Some retailers offer free hearing aid batteries as part of their general aftercare package. This is a nice bonus!

The rest is up to you, but you have NOTHING to lose by trying to find out if open ear hearing aids are suitable for you, and if you have hearing loss that can be helped by these little marvels, then you will be very glad you looked into it!

Behind The Ear Hearing Aids – What Makes Them The Most Obvious Choice?

For a person who is hearing impaired there are so many choices if they are going to get a hearing device. You can get aids that just go in the ear or ones that fit inside the ear canal completely. One would expect these types to be the most popular for cosmetic reasons. Today the most common of hearing aids to be used are behind the ear hearing aids.

These hearing aids are made up of an ear mould designed to fit in a person’s ear which is connected to a piece of tubing onto the hearing aid. The tube is known as the tone hook. The hearing aid will have a control for on and off, a control for volume and the battery compartment. The microphone is situated at the top of the hearing aid. Sound reaches the ear by the tubing, through the ear mould that is in the ear.

In general, children who are fitted with a device for their hearing loss are given behind the ear hearing aids. The reason behind this is that they tend to be much more robust than other kinds. They are easy enough for a child to learn to put an aid in and operate it, with the large controls that they can handle.

Children encounter a few difficulties with behind the ear hearing aids, which are usually minor. As they grow, so will the size of the ear canal and the shape, so they may require a refit twice a year. This can also happen with other styles of hearing aids. A child may have trouble remembering where their behind the ear hearing aid is as it is small when they have removed them, and other types could pose even more problems. With children, some do not have ears that are large enough for a behind the ear hearing aid. They need to be fitted correctly which sometimes helps, but if not a device known as a “Huggy” is available so the aid can be fitted to the head so that it is more secure.

As behind the ear hearing aids are a little larger than other devices which are usually worn in the ear, bigger batteries can be used. This gives more power and increased amplification. For any person that uses a hearing aid, this proves very useful if you have a mild hearing loss to someone who has a more profound hearing loss. If a person has problems with the use of their hands and fingers due to a condition like arthritis behind the ear hearing aids are easier for them to handle with the larger controls. They can have circuitry which is either analogue or the the advanced digital technological ones.

Behind the ear hearing aids are powerful, strong and easy to use. For a child they are the ideal choice for many reasons. They come in many styles and colours to give variety. As they now come in digital is it any wonder that they have become very popular as the most used hearing aid today.