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Deciding between Different Styles of Hearing Aids

by Kate Scully, Audiology Expert
July 13, 2017

Question: How should I decide between different styles of hearing aids (open fit versus closed and BTE vs ITE vs RIC)?

Answer: This is going to depend on several factors. Severity and location (in terms of frequency) of the hearing loss often dictates what is most appropriate to meet that patient's hearing needs. For example someone with a severe hearing loss is going to need custom earpieces/closed fit because open fit would not be able to provide the gain/volume needed to accommodate the patient's hearing loss. Conversely if someone only has loss in high frequencies, typically you do not want to close off the ear canal with an in the ear product and over amplify low pitches where that person already hears normally.  A patient's dexterity and/or capability of changing the battery independently (many RIC models are now rechargeable), visual challenges the patient may have, desire to have aid be discreet, how much wax patient's ears produce, if it is a surgical ear or not (drains etc), and ability to work in conjunction with bluetooth devices are other factors that play a role in the choice of style of aid for the patient.

Kate Scully, Au.D., CCC-A, FAAA is Director of Audiology at Hearing Center Silver Spring in Maryland. Her professional interests include hearing aids, adult diagnostics, assisted listening devices, otoacoustic emissions and ototoxic monitoring, hereditary/syndromic hearing loss, and newborn hearing assessments. Dr. Scully is licensed by the Maryland Board of Examiners for Audiologists. She is also nationally certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a fellow of

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