The Ins and Outs of Hearing Aids

The Ins and Outs of Hearing Aids

Designed for people with hearing loss, hearing aids are small, wearable electronic devices which help amplify sounds. These devices are deemed to be the best possible treatment for individuals with hearing issues, restoring people’s ability to participate in conversations and communicate more effectively both in person and over the phone. With several different models and additional features, users are also able to personalise their device to guarantee optimal results.

How do hearing aids work?

Although there are multiple types of hearing aids available, almost all of them work in a very similar way. First, a sound will be picked up by the microphone and converted into an electrical signal by a computer chip with an amplifier. This is then modified to fit the needs of the user before the sound is made audible through a miniature speaker. Hearing loss occurs when the hair cells located in the inner ear become damaged due to old age, disease or frequent exposure to loud noise. They work to amplify the sound waves entering the ear making it easier for hair cells to detect these increased vibrations and convert them into neural signals which are sent to the brain. If these hair cells become too damaged hearing aids will be ineffective.

Different types of hearing aids

In the ear (ITE)
ITE hearing aids fill the bowl shaped area just outside your ear. They come in two designs, full shell which fills the entire area and half shell which only fills the lower section.

· Long battery life
· Discreet
· Easy to insert
· Used on all hearing abilities

· Ears can feel plugged
· Not suitable for children as the plastic covering will frequently need replacing as they grow
· Possible feedback issues
· Must be cleaned daily to prevent issues with earwax and moisture build-up


There are two variations of canal hearing, in the canal (ITC) where an ear mould is placed in the ear canal, and completely in the canal (CIC) which is inserted deep enough into the ear it’s not visible.


· Discreet
· Easy to use with phones and headsets

· The small size they’re more difficult for people with dexterity issues to manage
· Difficult to get in and out
· Less powerful due to their smaller size

Behind the ear (BTE)
BTE hearing aids are made up of two parts. The main part is a small plastic device which hooks over the top of your ear and sits behind it. This is connected to a small ear fitting which fits inside your ear canal by a thin, transparent tube.

· Robust and likely to last several years without the need for repair
· Feedback issues unlikely
· Easy to insert and maintain

· Large, indiscreet style
· Possible issues with wind noise in an outside spaces
· Not suitable for those with severe hearing loss
· Ears can feel plugged


Open-fit hearing aids are a more advanced, modern variation of  BTE. Although they’re a similar design, that’s where the similarities end. With open-fit, the hard shell located behind the ear is lighter and smaller and therefore more comfortable to traditional BTE hearing aids. There’s also no ear fitting placed within the canal, in fact the canal is left completely open with just the small tube sitting at its entrance.

· Ears don’t feel plugged
· More discreet than BTE
· Ventilation within the ear makes them a good option for those prone to wax build up.

· Not effective on people with severe hearing loss
· Short battery life

Choosing the right hearing aid for you

With so many different hearing aid models available, it can be difficult to select one best suited to your needs. A range of factors should be considered when making this decision.

Level of hearing loss

The type of hearing aid that’s right for you will be massively impacted by the extent of your hearing loss. For more severe cases, powerful models such as ITE are recommended.


As they are usually worn every waking moment, it’s essential they’re comfortable. Look at the design of different models and deliberate over which you would feel the most comfortable in. Generally speaking, BTE are deemed the most comfortable but ITE aids are more discreet.

Quality and price

Hearing aids come in a range of different styles and price ranges. Some of the more expensive models include additional features designed to further improve your hearing experience. It’s worth considering if these features are worth the extra cost.


Different hearing aids work better in different situations and it’s important to get one well suited to your levels of social interaction, hobbies and certain environments you’re in frequently. 

Other features

Rechargeable batteries

Removes the need to frequently change the battery.

Bluetooth connectivity

Enables users to connect their hearing aids to devices such as their mobile phone or SMART tv making sound from these devices much clearer.


Enables users with two hearing aids to sync the two devices so they function together and any alterations made to programme changes or volume on one will automatically be made on the other.

Remote controls

Allows users to alter their hearing aid setting without directly touching and potentially dislodging them.

Multiple programmes

Enables users to change the programme based on their environment.

The main steps to buying hearing aids

Hearing aids can massively increase your quality of life but there are a range of things to consider to ensure you purchase the best ones for you.

Attend an ear examination

Confirm with a doctor that you’re in need of hearing aids and your hearing loss is not a result of an infection or earwax blockage.

Speak to an audiologist

Discuss your requirements with an audiologist who’ll be able to provide you with one best suited to your needs.

Understand the return policy

As it takes a while to adapt to hearing aids there’s usually a trial period for you to assess if they’re the correct model for you. Know how long this period is so you can try out an alternative model if the original was unsuitable.

Understand the warranty

Know how long the warranty lasts and what it covers. You may be able to purchase insurance when it expires.

Consider if future upgrades will be available

It’s possible that your hearing will deteriorate whilst you have this device. Selecting a hearing aid where it’s possible to increase power will prolong the expense of needing to replace them.

At O’Grady’s Hearing Care we understand the positive impact hearing aids can have upon your life and work to both administer and repair hearing aids restore your hearing ability as much as possible.
Speak to one of our experts today.

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