Hearing Aids

Today's hearing aids are very sophisticated electronic devices that come in many different styles. As a general rule, larger hearing aids can deliver more power, but this varies widely. Larger hearing aids also generally take a larger battery, which can deliver longer battery life. Smaller hearing aid styles may not be appropriate for every hearing loss or have as many features.

Variety of hearing aids

The mini or micro behind-the-ear style that is quite popular now is kind of an exception to the rule. It may vary greatly in size, take any of three sizes of battery, and some are quite a bit more powerful than others. Although many can be used with traditional tubing, most use a thin tube between the electronics behind the ear and the ear canal. Some of these tubes are filled with air and transmit the sound acoustically (called a slim tube style). Other tubes contain a thin wire from the electronics behind the ear to another electronic part (the speaker, also called a receiver) in the ear canal. These are called receiver-in-canal or receiver-in-the-ear hearing aids. Both types are often "open fit", meaning the ear canal is only minimally blocked by the stock or custom earpiece that fits into it. Open fit can be overused, and is not appropriate for every hearing loss. The earpieces may need to be modified or custom molded to block the ear canal more to achieve maximum benefit.

Hearing aid tube

Understanding Hearing Aid Technology Levels

A common way of classifying hearing aid technology is into "best," "better," "good," and "economy" categories. The prices vary accordingly. The "best" technology has all the top of the line features and turns most of the features on and off automatically as needed. Think of it like a really fancy computer. Features may include multichannel noise reduction, feedback cancellation, lots of frequency bands for fine-tuning, binaural (both ears) synchronization, binaural adaptive directional microphones, wireless connectivity, self-learning and several others. "Better" technology has a few less features, which may be less sophisticated or may require you to push a button to activate them. "Good" technology has even fewer features but usually has some type of noise reduction, feedback cancellation, an automatic directional microphone, binaural synchronization, and wireless connectivity. "Economy" technology is pretty basic, although most some have an automatic directional microphone, feedback cancellation, and perhaps some basic noise reduction.

As technology rapidly improves, features are often added at the "best" level, and older features may trickle down to the other levels. Most technology is available in multiple styles. The technology level impacts the price much more than the style.

To help with the technology level decision, hearing aid manufacturers suggest that the level should be matched to your lifestyle—that a very active, noisy lifestyle needs "best" level, and that "good" level technology is only appropriate for a simple, quiet lifestyle. Of course, budget is always a factor, but hearing as well as possible shouldn't be thought of as a luxury reserved for the jet-setting executive. Everyone deserves to hear as well as possible at all times, but only you can decide how important this is. Yes, any technology can sound great in a quiet room, and you can "get by” with a lower level of technology—to the degree that you are willing and able to remember to manually activate some features for extra help in challenging listening situations (and/or to the degree that you are willing to miss out at times).


Hearing Aid Styles

In the Ear (ITE) ITE hearing aid
In the Canal (ITC) ITC hearing aid
Completely in the Canal (CIC) CIC hearing aid
Behind the Ear (BTE) BTE hearing aid
Slim Tube BTE / Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) Open Fit hearing aid
Invisible in the Canal (IIC) IIC hearing aid
EarQ logo Signia logo ReSound logo Oticon logo Starkey logo Widex logo Rexton logo Phonak logo Unitron logo

Hearing Aid Brands

There is no best brand. Best for one person might not be best for the next person. Some brands are better than others in certain segments of the market. They may be more kid-friendly, have the smallest super-power aid, the most fully-featured economy product, the coolest accessories, or breakthrough features—for the moment.

We technically offer nine brands, but it's hard to keep up with the technology from more than three or four companies. We tend to use one brand most of the time, plus a couple other brands when the patient wants or needs a certain feature, accessory, or price point. Our primary brand has changed over the years. We look for really good technology at every price point, good product design, software that lets us adjust things as we see fit, and companies with good people and business practices.

Currently we fit mostly Signia/Siemens, ReSound, Starkey, and EarQ products.

The Signia Primax 7 is clinically proven to isolate the target speaker from unwanted surrounding noise and other speech using SpeechMaster, a collection of algorithms that work together to achieve less listening effort. It also integrates data from the two microphones on each ear so that the ears can help each other. The ability of each side to use all four microphones of the pair creates a virtual eight microphone system for wonderful speech-in-noise directionality, including wind noise.

The brand new Signia NX 7 has all of the above features plus Own Voice Processing that improves the naturalness of the wearer's voice, while integrating nicely with iPhone technology.

Looking for quality lower-cost hearing aids? The Signia Primax 2 has become our favorite economy product. Available in several custom, behind-the-ear and receiver-in-canal styles, it is at the top of the "economy" level technology-wise and equal to or better than the "good" level products of a few years ago. Due to a price reduction by Signia/Siemens for EarQ member practices, most styles of the Signia Primax 2 are now $2750 or less per pair with a 2-year warranty, initial fitting procedures and our 2 year Standard Sound Care Plan included (other plans are available; hearing evaluation charged separately and often covered by insurance).

* Benefit from hearing aids depends on the severity of the hearing loss, word recognition scores, accuracy of the evaluation, proper fit and the ability to adapt to amplification.

Signia Primax 7

Contact us today to start your journey towards better hearing.

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