What are hearing aids?

Hearing aids are small electronic devices that can be worn in or behind the ear in order to improve hearing. Hearings aids are commonly used by people with hearing loss which might have occurred due to any one of these three causes:

  • Disease
  • Injury
  • Aging
  • Hearing aids help the user to listen better in both quiet and noisy environments.

How do hearing aids work?

A typical hearing aid device has a microphone, an amplifier and a speaker. The hearing aid receives sound through the microphone and converts the sound waves into electrical signals and sends it to the amplifier, which, in turn, increases the strength of those signals and the sound finally travels to the ear of the person through the speaker.

What is the trial period for hearing aids?

Most companies in India have a trial period that ranges from 7 days to 30 days. In this duration, the hearing aid can be used and also be returned to the company.

What are the different styles of hearing aids?

There are many styles of hearing aids that one can choose ranging from the ones that can be worn behind the ear to the ones that are invisible to the naked eye. The different styles are:

  • Invisible Hearing Aids (IHA)
  • Behind The Ear Hearing Aids (BTE)
  • Receiver In Canal Hearing Aids (RIC)
  • Completely In Canal Hearing Aids (CIC)
  • In The Canal Hearing Aids (ITC)
  • In The Ear Hearing Aids (ITE)

Advantages of different Hearing Aid styles?

Invisible Hearing Aids are custom made. These are mostly suggested for middle aged users. Selected models also allow for the aid to be connected to a mobile phone through which the volume settings can be changed instead of taking the hearing aid out physically.

Behind The Ear hearing aids are the standard and most accessible style of hearing aid in the market. They are available in different colours and are extremely user friendly.

The Receiver In Canal hearing aids have a discreet design with easy to use buttons that can be worn by first time users. They are also available in different colours, sizes and technologies.

Completely In Canal and In The Canal hearing aids are custom-made or moulded for the wearer. Most CIC and ITC hearing aids are fully automatic and don’t require much intervention on the part of the user.

In The Ear Hearing Aids are custom-made. ITE hearing aids are easier to insert. They use larger batteries and last longer.

Disadvantages of different Hearing Aid styles?

  • Hearing aid users show tendency to develop earwax clogging. (Earwax is a yellow wax like substance that protects the passage of the outer ear)
  • Behind The Ear (BTE) and In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids may pick up more wind noises than smaller, more compact styles.
  • CIC, ITC and ITE styles of hearing aids are not meant for children. It will be difficult for them to adjust the aids. Also the moulds will need to be constantly changed because the child will grow.

Which doctor diagnoses and treats hearing loss?

If a person experiences hearing loss, he/she should visit an ear, nose or throat doctor (otolaryngologist or otologist) to rule out any medical conditions that might be interfering with hearing. As and when hearing loss is confirmed, treatment of the condition is done by an audiologist or ear specialist.

An audiologist is a trained professional who is responsible for dispensing, managing and rehabilitating hearing aids. An audiologist conducts general screening tests, tuning fork tests and audiometer tests to ascertain the problem and intensity of the problem and suggest remedies accordingly.

How many hearing aids are needed 1 or 2?

The hearing aid that will work best for you will depend on the kind and severity of your hearing loss. If there is hearing loss in both the ears, two hearing aids are generally recommended because two aids provide a natural experience. Understanding speech and locating the direction of sound will be better when two hearing aids are used. The audiologist will have the final say on whether one hearing aid will suffice or you would have to use two.

How long does a hearing aid last?

A typical hearing aid lasts for about five to six years. Some hearing aids work even beyond six years but might need tune ups and repair services from time to time. Most hearing aids have a warranty of up to 2-3 years.

How much do hearing aids cost?

Hearing Aids in India are available in various styles and each style has different models. Both Central and State governments subsidise or give the hearing devices away, free of cost to the poor. The market however, has a dynamic price range that caters to everyone’s needs and preferences. Hearing aids can be available for as much as ₹ 290,000 to as cost efficient as ₹ 1000.