A hearing aid is an electroacoustic device which typically fits in or behind the wearer’s ear, and is designed to amplify and modulate sound for the wearer.
There are three major types of hearing aids :
• Behind-the-ear (BTE)
• Remote Microphone Technology (RMT)
• Custom in-the-ear models (ITE)
The main section of this hearing aid is hidden behind your ear and connected to a molded receiver that fits snugly in the outer ear.
BTEs can be used for mild to profound hearing loss. Due to the electrical components being located outside the ear, the chance of moisture and earwax damaging the components is reduced. This increases the durability of a BTE aid and with proper care it can last for many years. BTEs can be connected to assistive listening devices, such as FM systems, and FM systems can also be an integrated part of the design. An important aspect of the BTE aid is that the case and earmold are separate which makes it easier to replace the earmold.
Recent innovations in BTEs include miniature BTEs with thin hair-like sound tubes. These are often less visible than In-The-Ear aids (ITEs). They use a larger vent than other hearing aid types. This keeps the ear canal more open, which allows sound to enter the ear without being amplified. This is helpful for listeners with normal hearing in the lower frequencies. Miniature BTEs are generally used for mild to moderate high frequency losses.
Suitable for: all types of hearing loss
Remote Microphone Technology (RMT)
Remote Microphone is a new category that combines the advantages of the behind-the-ear and custom (in-the-ear) models.
The microphone has been moved to the outer ear and is connected to the main body of the hearing aid by a thin transparent tube. The result is a virtually invisible hearing instrument that offers Open-fitting comfort and maximum wind noise suppression.
Suitable for: mild or to moderately severe hearing loss
Custom in-the-ear models
Custom in-the-ear models are custom made to fit the contours of your ear canal. They’re easy to insert for all levels of dexterity and avoid conflict when wearing glasses, hats, etc.
There are several different types of custom hearing aids:
• Full shell
• Half shell
• Mini canal
• Completely in the canal (CIC)
Depending on the specific type, it may be more or less invisible in your ear. The size and shape of your ear canal along with your specific hearing loss determine which type of custom hearing aid is right for you.
What to consider when choosing a hearing aid ?
There are a number of factors you need to consider in order to choose a hearing aid.
Every aspect of your favourite activities is important for selecting the most appropriate hearing aid for you.
Here are a list of questions surrounding lifestyle which can determine the type of hearing aid which is appropriate for you:
• Do you need to communicate with many people throughout the day?
• Do you spend time at loud activities like sporting events or concerts where you need to hear in the presence of a great deal of background noise?
• Do you attend large parties or go to busy restaurants?
• Do you swim a lot?
• Do you go shopping or spend time in public places where being able to communicate is important?
• Are you involved in religious gatherings where you need to be able to hear?
• Do you attend work or social meetings where you need to be able to communicate?
• Do you need to hear in quiet restaurants?
• Do you need to be able to communicate in small group settings?
• Do you need to be able to hear in one-on-one settings?
• Do you spend quite a bit of time involved in quiet home activities?
At Pinnacle Hearing we will assess your responses to a range of questions such as these, to determine which type of hearing device is best for you.
Each hearing loss is different, posing special challenges for the best amplification for your individual loss.
The shape and size of the outer ear and ear canal may determine which type of hearing aid you can wear.
A combination of different technological features may benefit your particular hearing loss.
Some instruments adjust automatically, while others have manual controls for volume and/or alternating between listening programs.
Why go to an independent audiologist?
At Pinnacle Hearing we are independent which means we are not owned or strategically aligned with a single hearing aid manufacturer. We are proudly independent because we know this gives us the freedom to give our clients the time to provide a highly professional and yet personalized service . It also gives us the freedom to be 100% objective when prescribing a hearing aid.
Being independent sets us apart from the majority (80%) of our competitors who are either owned or strategically aligned with a particular hearing aid manufacturer. We are infact one of the only independent full time practices left on the northshore of Sydney
Very few people realize it, but the hearing services industry is increasingly controlled by large multinational hearing aid manufacturers.
So who owns what?
A single company based in Denmark owns the Oticon, Bernafon and Sonic brands of hearing aids and these brands are aligned to two major chains in Australia: Audioclinic and Hearing Life. If you have a look around you’ll find Audioclinic markets the Oticon range of hearing aids, whereas Hearing Life primarily markets the Sonic Innovations range.
Similarly, the Swiss company Sonova Holdings owns the Unitron, Phonak and Lyric brands. In Australia Connect Hearing is owned by Sonova and unsurprisingly it promotes the Phonak, Unitron and Lyric hearing aids.
Even Australian Hearing, a government operated hearing chain, is contractually aligned with Siemens – the German manufacturer of high tech hearing equipment.
From a patients point of view, the question is how do you get objective advice about the 130 models of hearing aids available worldwide if the clinic you are visiting is owned or aligned with a single manurfacturer of hearing aids?
So we remain independent and yet we have a strong trading relationship with all the major manufacturers of hearing aids. We work hard to stay on top of the latest developments in hearing aid technology and because it is a competitive market we push for better prices. At the end of the day, we know our prices are very competitive with the bigger chains and we will try to match or better on price every time. Our major advantage is we don’t spend nearly as much on advertising.
Please see our testimonials page.