What Are Custom Hearing Aids?
Custom hearing aids are meticulously crafted to cater to the unique characteristics of each individual's ears, ensuring a personalized and comfortable fit. Unlike standard hearing aids, custom models provide a precise match to the size, shape, and anatomy of the ear, resulting in enhanced comfort and optimal effectiveness.
By snugly fitting inside the ear canal, custom hearing aids minimize discomfort and ensure maximum effectiveness. This tailored fit contributes to superior sound quality, enabling individuals to hear with clarity and accuracy.
One of the significant advantages of custom hearing aids is their discreet placement inside the ear. By being tucked away, they are less noticeable to others, offering a cosmetic advantage for those who prefer a more inconspicuous appearance. Furthermore, custom hearing aids can be tailored to match the wearer's skin tone, providing an additional level of discretion and blending seamlessly with their natural appearance.
However, it's important to note that there may be an adjustment period for first-time users of custom hearing aids. Just like adapting to wearing contact lenses, it takes time for individuals to get used to the sensation of having something continuously in their ears. Initially, some discomfort may be experienced, but with consistent use, most individuals quickly adapt, and the custom hearing aids become a natural and comfortable part of their routine.
Types of Custom Hearing Aids Explained
With a wide range of custom hearing aids available in the market, gone are the days of constantly asking your loved ones to speak louder due to hearing difficulties. Custom hearing aids come in 5 different varieties that cater to different needs and preferences, which includes:
- Invisible-In-The-Canal (IIC) Hearing Aid:
IIC hearing aids are the latest revolution in the custom hearing aids category. They are smaller than CIC aids and placed deep inside the ear canal, which makes them completely invisible to the naked eye. The only sign of the existence of a hearing aid is for a thin, transparent wire that you need to use to take them out from your ear. Being positioned near the eardrum, IIC also requires less amplification compared to other models, which minimizes occlusion effects and utilizes the natural ear shape for sound localization.Currently, the are only suitable for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
- Completely-In-The-Canal (CIC) Hearing Aid:
CIC hearing aids provide a discreet and less visible option, as they are worn entirely inside the ear canal, with no portion extending into the ear bowl. They are suitable for individuals with sufficiently long ear canals and are recommended for mild to severe hearing loss. As they are positioned deep inside the ear canal, they can minimize wind noise and feedback.
- In-The-Canal (ITC) Hearing Aid:
ITC hearing aids are slightly larger than CIC aids and sit in the lower portion of the ear canal. They offer a comfortable fit and are suitable for individuals with moderate to severe hearing loss. ITCs provide additional features compared to CICs, such as dual microphones for better speech understanding in noisy environments.
- In-The-Ear (ITE) Hearing Aid:
ITEs are the largest style of custom hearing aids and cover various degrees of hearing loss, including profound hearing loss. They use earmold impressions of both the ear bowl and canal (known as full shell) to ensure a secure fit. ITE hearing aids fit inside the concha bowl of the ear and extend into the ear canal, providing correction for moderate to profound hearing loss. They offer comprehensive features, including ear-to-ear communication and wireless Bluetooth connectivity for streaming sound and calls from iOS® and Android™ devices.
- Mic-In-Helix (MIH) Hearing Aid:
MIH custom hearing aids resemble ITC hearing aids, but their microphone is discreetly placed under the small rims of the ear (helix) and connected by a thin tube. This design not only makes them smaller but also provides a more natural sound quality by reducing wind noise and feedback. They also provide a natural sound experience and are suitable for mild to severe hearing loss.
Who Can Benefit from Custom Hearing Aids?
While custom hearing aids can benefit a wide range of people with hearing loss, let's explore who can particularly benefit from these specialized devices:
- Mild to Severe Hearing Loss:
Custom hearing aids are designed to enhance the hearing experience for individuals with hearing loss by amplifying sounds and improving speech clarity and environmental sounds. Through adjustments in amplification levels, settings, and features, custom hearing aids effectively address varying degrees of hearing loss. They can be personalized to cater to specific hearing needs, regardless of whether the individual has mild or severe hearing loss.
- Care about Discreetness and Aesthetics
Custom hearing aids are carefully crafted to offer individuals with hearing loss a comfortable and inconspicuous solution. These specialized devices are meticulously designed to fit securely inside the ear canal or the concha bowl, resulting in a discreet appearance that is less noticeable compared to other types of hearing aids. The process involves precise measurements and the creation of a personalized hearing aid that perfectly matches the unique contours of your ear. If you value maintaining a low profile and prefer a nearly invisible hearing aid, custom options are available to match your skin tone. By selecting a skin-colored version, you can fulfill your desire for a hearing aid that seamlessly blends with your natural appearance, making it challenging for others to detect.
- Have an Active Lifestyle
Custom hearing aids are designed to provide comfort and stability for individuals with active lifestyles. Whether you enjoy sports, engage in extreme activities, or participate in other physical activities, these devices are designed to withstand movement and maintain their position in the ear, ensuring optimal sound quality even during active moments. As a result, users can engage in activities without worrying about losing or missing out on sounds.
- Wear Glasses or Sunglasses:
Custom hearing aids are particularly popular among individuals who need hearing aids but also wear glasses and want to avoid any interference between the two. These specialized devices are designed to fit comfortably inside the ear while minimizing any potential discomfort caused by wearing glasses. Users can enjoy the advantages of enhanced hearing while wearing their glasses without compromising on comfort or functionality. The seamless integration of custom hearing aids and glasses enables individuals to carry out their daily activities effortlessly, whether it's reading, working, or engaging in social interactions.
Who Are Custom Hearing Aids Not Suitable For?
Understanding the limitations of custom hearing aids can help individuals make informed decisions about their hearing care. Here are some situations where custom hearing aids may not be the most suitable option:
- Diagnosed with Profound Hearing Loss:
Due to their small size, custom hearing aids have limited amplification capability, typically up to 100 dB. This may not be sufficient for individuals with profound hearing loss.
- Have Ear Canal Issues:
Certain individuals may have unique ear canal conditions that make it challenging to fit custom hearing aids comfortably. Examples include very narrow or irregularly shaped ear canals, excessive earwax buildup, or chronic ear infections. In these cases, alternative hearing aid styles, such as behind-the-ear (BTE) or receiver-in-canal (RIC) models, may be better suited.
- Have Dexterity Issues:
Custom hearing aids are small and require manipulation and insertion into the ear canal. Individuals with limited hand mobility, such as those with arthritis or tremors, may find it difficult to handle and maintain custom hearing aids properly. In such instances, hearing aids with larger controls or remote-controlled options may be more suitable.
- Have Pre-Existing Medical Condition:
Custom hearing aids may not be the ideal choice for individuals with a particular lifestyle. For example, people who are frequently exposed to excessive moisture may find it challenging to keep custom hearing aids dry.
- Experience Cognitive Decline:
Custom hearing aids require users to manipulate small controls, insert them into the ear canal, and handle maintenance tasks. Individuals with cognitive decline often experience difficulties with memory, attention, and problem-solving, which can make it challenging to operate and manage the intricate features of custom hearing aids effectively. Moreover, individuals with cognitive decline may have difficulty recognizing potential risks or hazards associated with wearing custom hearing aids. For example, they may forget to remove the devices before sleeping or bathing, increasing the risk of damage to the hearing aids or potential harm to themselves.
What Are Ready-To-Wear Custom Hearing Aids?
Ready-to-wear custom hearing aids offer a convenient, accessible, and cost-effective option for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss. These off-the-shelf CICs are not made-to-order, you can have a CIC hearing aid on the same day visit. While they may not offer the same level of customization as custom hearing aids, ready-to-wear options can be an excellent choice for individuals seeking a practical and affordable hearing solution, but has a strong preference on discreetness.
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Behind-The-Ear Hearing Aids
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are often recommended for people with severe or profound hearing loss as they can support higher amplification. Due to their larger size, it is also ideal for people with limited dexterity or children.
Receiver-In-Ear Hearing Aids
Receiver-In-Ear (RIE) hearing aids are so small that you can barely see with a naked eye. Not only they work with most hearing conditions, but they also come with many advanced features to make hearing as a second nature to your everyday life.
Custom Hearing Aids
Custom hearing aids are made-to-order hearing aids that fits comfortably within the ear. All the important components, including the battery, amplifier, digital chip, and receiver, are seamlessly integrated into the device. Despite their compact size, these hearing aids are capable of addressing hearing loss ranging from mild to severe.
Hearing Aid Maintenance and Repair
It is not unusual for a properly maintained hearing aid to require repairs. Certain minor repairs can be handled in-house, while others may need to be sent to the manufacturer. We can assist in determining the appropriate repair needed for your hearing aid.
One Hearing Aid or Two?
Even though wearing one hearing aid is better than none, the neglected ear will often become worse, causing a lopsided hearing loss. You can help protect your hearing from progressive hearing loss and other cognitive issues by wearing two hearing aids working together.
The Surprising Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia
Dementia is far easier to prevent than treat, and exceedingly difficult to reverse. One important and historically under-appreciated way of preventing it is addressing hearing loss. By taking care of our hearing, we can also take care of our brains.
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With more than 100+ hearing devices, you can always find the product that best fits your personal hearing needs. Our goal is to provide each customer the best care possible based on their unique lifestyle, budget and hearing conditions.
New to Hearing Aids?
Getting hearing aids to treat hearing loss is a significant milestone, but it's not the end of the journey. Adapting to hearing aids is a gradual process that requires time, commitment and patience.