Are you struggling to hear as well as you used to? If so – and if you haven’t sought treatment for it – chances are you’re dealing with more issues than being hard of hearing. Untreated hearing loss leads to higher rates of depression, anxiety and other psychological disorders, according to the National Council on Aging. Other co-related conditions associated with untreated hearing loss include decreased emotional or social function, decreased communication and a loss of cognitive function.

Hearing aids are often the best and most common solution for treating hearing loss. The type of hearing aid that is best for an individual depends highly upon the type and degree of hearing loss they are suffering from. Other factors to consider when choosing a pair of hearing aids include one’s lifestyle, age and the overall cost of the aids.

Types of hearing aids

While hearing aids all function the basic same way with the same basic parts – a microphone that picks up sound and sends it to a computer chip, which amplifies and processes sound before a speaker sends the signal to the ear – there are many different types of hearing aids. The main differences between types of hearing aids boil down to how the hearing aids are worn. Common types of hearing aids include:

  • In-the-ear styles: These types of hearing aids are inserted into the ear canal and are typically less visible than other types of hearing aids. They are good for individuals with amble dexterity and mild to moderate hearing loss. Types of in-the-ear styles include:
  • Invisible-in-the-canal
  • Completely-in-the-canal
  • In-the-canal
  • Low profile hearing aids
  • Behind-the-ear styles: These hearing aids are much smaller than they used to be. BTE hearing aids have very thin ear tubs and ear tips that fade discreetly into the ear canal. They are easier to handle and are adequate for mild to severe hearing loss. Types of BTE hearing aids include:
  • Mini BTE aids with slim tubes and tips
  • Receiver-in-the-ear
  • Receiver-in-canal
  • BTE hearing aids and earmolds

What’s right for me

An audiologist, usually the one who diagnoses the hearing loss, will help an individual choose the right hearing aids for the type and degree of hearing loss. The audiologist will provide many options, as well as pros and cons for each type of aid.