The types of custom hearing aids include IIC, CIC, ITC, HS, and ITE. They come in a variety of sizes from the smallest IIC (invisible in canal) to the ITE (in the ear). An ear mold is made of each ear and sent to a lab to build the outer shell of the hearing aid. This is done by scanning the impression into a computer, designing the shell to accommodate the hearing aid computer, microphone, speaker, battery etc., and then sending it to a machine to “print” the shell. The hearing aid components are then assembled, tested and shipped to the audiologist for programming. The larger styles are generally more powerful than the smaller styles, but the smallest IIC style is not visible to others while the larger custom styles are low profile but visible. Custom aids are a good option for many types of hearing loss.
Advantages of Custom Hearing Aids
Few things are as isolating as being among friends and family who are obviously enjoying a story and not being able to hear any of it. It can be a difficult journey for someone to realize that they need a hearing aid, even if they are aware that they cannot hear normally anymore. Whether it is an aging parent or a younger person who has noise-induced hearing loss, it can be difficult to take the plunge and find an audiologist.
Why People Avoid Hearing Aids
There are many reasons people procrastinate having their hearing checked. They may tell themselves that they are not old enough to have hearing problems or that the hearing loss isn’t that bad. They may be embarrassed for anyone to see the hearing aid or worried that it will be uncomfortable to wear. Finally, many older patients may not realize that the cost can be defrayed with Medicare.
The first and most impactful reason to consider custom hearing aids is that they are made specifically for you and you only. They are molded to the exact unique shape of your ear so that they are more comfortable than off-the-shelf models. The careful testing performed by our audiologists ensures that you get the appropriate level of amplification for your hearing level. The quality of sound in custom hearing aids can be superior to other non-custom models, as well.
Since one of the reasons that some people avoid hearing aids is the visibility, having custom hearing aids can help alleviate that insecurity. They can be very small when situated in the ear canal and virtually invisible to see. Even the larger molded models can be unobtrusive and may be almost unnoticeable for people with longer hair. Combined with the ease of putting them on and removing them, custom hearing aids can be the ideal solution for reluctant patients.
How to Get Used to Wearing a Hearing Aid
When anyone has endured any sensory degeneration, they have adjusted to their new normal. It can be disarming to suddenly hear sounds that you haven’t heard in a while. The first rule in getting used to a hearing aid is to give your brain time to acclimate to your new hearing comprehension. Most patients take only around one month to adapt to their new hearing aid.
A critical step in adjusting to your new custom hearing aid is to set realistic expectations. A hearing aid, while miraculous, can never exactly replicate what the ear does naturally. Once you know what to expect, relax and give yourself time to experience the joy of hearing again.