Hearing Aids, What You Need to Know

The perfect hearing aid solution for every need and personal cosmetic preference.

Today’s modern hearing instruments offer an unbeatable combination of elegant design, high level of comfort, sophisticated digital technology that connects you to your world and lifestyle. They are small, discreet, stylish and powerful.

Three Types of Hearing Aid

There are three overall types of hearing aids, Behind The Ear, Receiver In Canal and In The Ear hearing devices. Within those three overall types, there are the following hearing aid model types:

  • IIC (Invisible In Canal)
  • CIC (Completely In Canal)
  • MIC (Mini In Canal)
  • MIH (Microphone In Helix, only available from Resound and Beltone)
  • ITE (In The Ear), could be half shell or full shell
  • BTE (Behind The Ear, can be Mini, Standard or Power)
  • RIC (Receiver In Canal)
  • RITE (Receiver In The Ear, just another name for RIC)

Bluetooth Hearing Aids

Over the last few years Bluetooth enabled hearing aids or Made For iPhone hearing aids have become popular. Resound were the first hearing aid brand to introduce a Made For iPhone hearing aid when they introduced the LiNX platform in 2014. Since then, all of the major hearing aid manufacturers have introduced Bluetooth hearing aids.

Made For iPhone Hearing Aids

Made For iPhone hearing aids

The Made For iPhone hearing aids are designed to directly connect to iPhones for the streaming of both phone calls and media audio. While these devices will also connect to Android phones, they will only do so for the use of apps, they will not allow audio streaming. Simply because,the makers of Android phones have not invested the development time to make that happen. However, that is changing. Resound and Google are working together to ensure that their hearing aids will connect in the same way to Android phones as they do to iPhones. It is expected that this may happen late this year or early in 2020.

Made For Any Phone

Made For Any Phone Hearing Aids

Sonova, the owners of the Phonak and Unitron brands amongst others developed their Bluetooth connection in a different way. Unitron’s new Discover hearing aids will connect to any Bluetooth enabled mobile phone for the streaming of phone calls and media audio. The phone does not even have to be a smartphone. They are the only hearing aid brands to offer Hands FreePhone Calls with their hearing aids.

That means that you can answer your phone call by pressing a button on the hearing aids and simply chat away. Your voice is picked up by the microphone on the hearing aid and transmitted back to the caller. No other brand offers this type of functionality at the moment.

Rechargeable Hearing Aids

Rechargeable hearing aids

In just the last two years modern rechargeable hearing aids have exploded onto the market. Phonak were the first, followed quickly by Signia with lithium-ion powered rechargeable hearing aids. Other brands entered the market with a different type of rechargeable power unit using silver-zinc battery technology. However, there were many problems with the silver-zinc technology and most of the hearing aid brands are now offering lithium-ion devices.

Rechargeable hearing aids are outstanding devices which give freedom of use. A full day of power on one simple three hour charge. No need to worry about batteries.

RIC – Receiver in the Canal – Open Fit Hearing Aid

A miniature behind the ear hearing aid that sends sound into the ear canal through a receiver (speaker) without plugging the ear canal

  • Ear canal open for a natural sound quality
  • Smallest & most discreet behind the ear style
  • Very small casing that sits behind the ear, making it practically invisible
  • Nano coating for more protection against humidity and sweat
  • Remote control and wireless accessories option
  • Smartphone app control
  • Many colours option
  • Hearing Loss:
    • Mild to Severe hearing loss
Unitron Hearing Aid RIC Blueberry Hearing 514

BTE – Traditional Behind the Ear Hearing Aid

There is a piece that sits behind your ear with a tube that is connected to an earmould that goes into your ear

Fully featured hearing aids

  • Larger case can be easier for patients with dexterity considerations
  • Larger batteries for better shelf life and economy
  • Case contains all features and sits behind the ear
  • Nano coating for more protection against humidity and sweat
  • Remote control and wireless accessories option
  • Smartphone app control
  • Many colours option
  • Hearing Loss:
    • BTE: Mild to severe hearing loss
    • Power BTE: Goes up to profound hearing loss
Unitron Hearing Aid BTE Blueberry NI

ITE – In The Ear Hearing Aids (Full Shell)

A custom-made shell that fills the entire outer part off your ear

  • Larger case can be easier for patients with dexterity considerations
  • Larger batteries for better shelf life and economy
  • Easier insertion and removal
  • High performance
  • Remote control and wireless accessories option
  • Smartphone app control
  • Hearing Loss:
    • Mild to Severe hearing loss
Unitron Hearing Aid ITE Full Shell Blueberry Hearing 514

ITC – In the Canal Hearing Aids

A custom-made shell that fills in the canal portion of your ear

  • Small: one-piece casing
  • Size allows the use of ‘directional’ microphones
  • Remote control and wireless accessories option
  • Smartphone app control
  • Hearing Loss:
    • Mild to Moderately-Severe hearing loss
Unitron Hearing Aid ITC Blueberry Hearing 514

CIC – Completely in the Canal Hearing Aids

A custom-made shell that goes from hardly noticeable to completely invisible depending on the size of the ear canal

  • Very small case: virtually invisible
  • Reduced occlusion or ‘blocked ear’ feeling compared to other ITE aids
  • Size prevents the use of ‘directional’ microphones
  • Remote control and wireless accessories option
  • Hearing Loss:
    • Mild to moderate hearing loss
Unitron Hearing Aid

IIC – ‘Invisible’ in the canal or mini-canal Hearing Aids

A custom-made shell designed to be completely ‘invisible’ that fits deep inside of the ear canal

  • Less occlusion
  • Not suitable for people with narrow ear canals
  • Not suitable for people with excessive wax problem
  • Size prevents the use of ‘directional’ microphones
  • Remote control
  • Hearing Loss:
    • Mild to Moderate hearing loss
Unitron Hearing Aid IIC Blueberry Hearing 514 northern ireland

Ten things to know about hearing aids

 

  1. Modern technology brings us hearing aids that are smaller, smarter, and more effective than ever before and a lot less noticeable than untreated hearing loss!
  2. Hearing aid technology today offers exceptional digital performance and comes in many discreet and comfortable styles.
  3. Advanced digital hearing aids provide fine-tuning to match your degree of hearing loss and preferences.
  4. The majority of modern hearing aids are equipped with several automatic levels of programming which have different settings for diverse listening situations, such as telephone or restaurant.
  5. Most advanced hearing aids automatically store data regarding which setting you prefer in certain situations and will automatically switch to the desired setting for each situation.
  6. Many hearing aids adjust their volume automatically to your hearing loss levels and are available with and without manual volume controls. Some people still like the option of adjusting the sound level whether or not they have to.
  7. Hearing aids with built-in telephone coils (T-coils or loop systems) reduce external sounds and allow you to hear more clearly in church, theatre, bank, post office or at home.
  8. For improved sound clarity and understanding, hearing aids with Bluetooth® wireless function and accessories allow you to connect wirelessly with smartphones, televisions, MP3 players, gaming consoles and other electronic devices.
  9. Age old-complaints, such as feedback (whistling), echoes, and background noise have dramatically improved and the sound is much clearer and more natural in today’s advanced digital hearing aids.
  10. The most modern hearing aid is only as effective as the hearing care professional who matches the technology features to your needs and produces a meaningful and measurable benefit. He or she is at least as important as the product.

Looking For The Best Hearing Aids in Northern Ireland?

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