Some people with hearing loss prefer other people didn’t know about it. However, they may be unaware of the trade-off between discreet hearing aids and the quality of corrected hearing. We wrote this post to explain the role of directionality and other factors on hearing.
Role of Directionality in Hearing
Hearing aids should ideally use external microphones able to detect sound waves from a particular direction. This helps the wearer distinguish between a voice nearby, and general background noise.
Entry-level hearing aids focus on sounds in front of the wearer on the basis these are more likely to be relevant. This means the user should ‘aim’ for the person they want to listen to most.
This may be sufficient for people with age-related mild-to-moderate hearing loss. Therefore, we need to think carefully before impulsively purchasing costly devices with features we don’t need and would never use.
Other Factors Affecting Hearing Aid Performance
Hearing aids pack an amazing amount of technology into tiny spaces. Manufacturers build them to be robust inside tough cases. However, they do need minor maintenance from users to keep them in tip top condition.
If you are new to the hearing aid game and find your hearing aids are not strong enough, the problem may be down to power supply. In other words, you may need to recharge their batteries, or replace them if they are single use ones.
If the problem is not with the batteries, then your hearing aids may not be working properly because removable ear wax has packed around them. This prevents them transmitting amplified sound to your ear drums.
More and Less Discreet Hearing Aids: Factors to Consider
There are two types of hearing aids on the market. These are in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids, and behind-the-ear (BTE) ones. In-the-ear hearing aids are more discreet. However, behind-the-ear ones have practical advantages.
Basics About ITE Hearing Aids
ITE hearing aids fit into the ear canal and require purpose-cast moldings made by specialists. They are available in different skin tones to blend in, and are suitable for mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
Basics about BTE Hearing Aids
BTE hearing aids fit behind or on top of users’ ears, and connect via tubes to grommets inside ear canals. Micro-technology has downsized them to the extent they are becoming discreet hearing aids too.
The Low Down On In-The-Ear Hearing Aid Styles
Invisible, and Completely-In-Canal Hearing Aids
Invisible-in-Canal (IIC) and Completely-in-Canal (CIC) devices are the most discreet hearing aids available. They are so deep and so small the user has to remove them by pulling a small tug-out string. Their sound quality is good but they have several disadvantages:
- IIC and CIC hearing aids are vulnerable to moisture and ear wax damage
- Their small size requires nimble-fingered operators and excludes WI-FI connectivity
- They do not have external microphones that facilitate directional listening
In-the-Canal (ITC) Hearing Aids
In-the-Canal (ITC) hearing devices are the next most discreet hearing aids on the market. They suit people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss who appreciate somewhat better battery life. However, they still have to put up with disadvantages. Some of these may create the impression their ITC hearing aids are not working properly.
- Susceptibility to moisture and ear-wax damage
- Making them feel they are wearing ear plugs
- Tiny controls and inhibited WI-FI capability
Low-Profile Half- and Full-Shell Designs
Hearing aids of these types rest in, or fill the outer ear bowl. They are large enough to have directional microphones and user-friendly controls. This makes them more suitable for users with dexterity issues, because they are easier to handle. However, they have a few downsides.
- Their intrusive appearance makes them very obvious
- They are not discreet hearing aids by any imagination
- People who wear them describe a sensation of ‘blocked ears’
Partly Behind-the-Ear with Receiver-in-Canal (RIC)
RIC hearing aids have receivers and processors on or behind ears, but tiny transmitters inside ear canals. They mostly have good WI-FI connectivity, but the processors are susceptible to moisture and ear-wax damage
Fully Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
BTE hearing aids are the most popular world-wide. That’s because they are simple to operate, and less-likely to create the impression users’ hearing aids are ‘not strong enough’.
Many folk believe they qualify for the title of the most discreet hearing aids without the risk of in-canal moisture damage. Their compact shape makes them less intrusive, without the need to cut back on the benefits.
"I Don't Want People to Know I'm Wearing Hearing Aids..."
That’s fair enough, even though most folks don’t go around looking behind people’s ears. Popular ideas we have heard include:
- Letting your hair grow longer and styling it over your ears
- Wearing fancy head gear / ear rings that distract eyes elsewhere
- Doing nothing because you’ll soon realize nobody notices
Purchasing Discreet Hearing Aids
If you have been shopping around for a while, you’ll know how ridiculously expensive hearing aids are. You are well-entitled to ask why they cost more than average smartphones in stores. Your answer is the delivery system is slow, ineffective, and expensive, and it expects consumers to pay for its inefficiencies.
Blue Angels is happily disrupting this price monopoly by selling quality behind-the-ear hearing aids directly over the internet for a fraction of smartphone prices. If you contact us now while prices still hold, a pair could be yours for an unbelievable under $200 outlay. Does that sound like something worth exploring? Thousands of people do so, every year.