With so many different hearing aids currently available, it may seem complicated to tell which one is the most appropriate choice for you or someone you care about. This article will offer a brief introduction to open fit hearing aids – a relatively new type that is increasing in popularity.
If you are familiar with behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids, you will find that open fit hearing aids have numerous similarities. The visible similarities include the plastic case that rests behind the ear and the small tube that connects to the ear canal. Both the case and the tube tend to be smaller than the ones found on behind-the-ear hearing aids.
Better ventilation to the ear is probably the largest differentiating factor of the open fit hearing aid. This allows low frequency sounds to enter the ear without additional amplification. This offers a more comfortable and natural experience to those with mild to moderate hearing loss that are able to hear low frequency sounds without amplification. For the wearer, this means that distracting sounds such as your own chewing or coughing are not amplified resulting in greater comfort and satisfaction.
Another major advantage of open fit hearing aids is their small size. Unlike other types of hearing aids, this style is small enough to easily disguise, making them a great choice for users who may be self-conscious about needing a hearing aid.
There are some disadvantages to open fit hearing aids, especially for users with severe hearing issues. The levels of amplification needed for users with major hearing loss often lead to feedback noise due to the device’s openness. Individuals with poor dexterity or fine motor skills may find it difficult to operate these small devices. Because of its small size, this device uses very small batteries, potentially making regular changes or recharges necessary.
Despite its flaws, the open fit hearing aid is a great choice for many users. Consult with your hearing professional to determine if the open fit type of hearing aid may be the best for your unique hearing needs and lifestyle.