The modern hearing aid is a technological marvel. Like cell phones and flat-screen televisions, each generation of hearing aid offers improvements in both function and design. The trend to put more and more function in less and less space has transferred to hearing devices with many models being so discreet that they can barely be seen. Discreet is good, but is smaller always better when it comes to hearing aids?
The answer to that question rests entirely on one thing: individual preference. Each person’s hearing loss is unique as is each person’s lifestyle, budget, and aesthetic ideals. The best hearing aid for you is the one that checks off all the boxes you’re looking for. To help inform that decision, below is a quick list of benefits to consider when choosing a small hearing aid:
- Completely in the canal (CIC) and invisible in the canal (IIC) are custom hearing aids that fit in the ear canal and are hidden from plain view. Look for those initials when doing your hearing aid research.
- CIC and IIC devices have no external tubes, wires or housing and are light and comfortable.
- Some wearers prefer the sound quality of canal hearing aids because the hearing aid sits closer to the eardrum and there is less space for sound to travel for processing, which can sometimes mean less feedback.
- Being nestled in the ear may allow these devices to better block environmental noises, like wind.
- Since these hearing aids are completely in the ear canal, they are less cumbersome when using the telephone and headphones.
Choosing the right hearing aid is a major decision and requires a complete review of not only the benefits, but some of the challenges of small hearing aids. Fortunately, we’re in a position to provide you with a well-rounded look at some of the challenges we’ve seen and some we’ve heard about from our patients.
- Small hearing aids work best for patients with mild to moderate hearing loss. If you have severe hearing loss, please opt for a behind the ear (BTE) hearing aid. BTE hearing aids can provide more amplification than other models.
- If you have small or unusually-shaped ear canals, you may not be a candidate for hearing aids that rest in the canal. Sometimes, they just don’t work in some ears.
- A small hearing aid equals a small battery. A smaller battery means you will, most likely, be changing your hearing aid battery more frequently. Note: The life of a hearing aid battery is also impacted by usage patterns.
- The small size may mean fewer features. Omnidirectional microphones have revolutionized the hearing experience by allowing the listener to better pinpoint sound origination but are not available in all small hearing aids where space is at a premium.
- In general, hearing aids are already small, and some patients have difficulty opening the battery housing or operating the controls. An even smaller hearing aid may exacerbate those issues, especially for those with coordination or vision challenges.
Ultimately, you just want the best hearing aid for you. Suggestions from friends and family with hearing aids are great, if you remember that their hearing loss is not your hearing loss. Schedule an appointment with us for a personalized review of your hearing aid options.