There are many styles of hearing aids. The degree of the hearing loss, power and options requirements, manual dexterity abilities, and cosmetic concerns are some of the factors that will determine the style most suitable for you. There are several types of aids available on the market; the most common types of aids that are used by approximately 95% of people with hearing loss are either behind-the-ear (BTE) or in-the-ear (ITE) aids.
BTE hearing aids are the largest hearing aids and they are very reliable. BTEs have the most circuit options and they can typically have much more power than any of the custom made in the ear units. BTEs are the units that “sit” on the back of your ear. They are connected to the ear canal via custom-made earmold with a plastic tubing. This carries the sound from the hearing aid into your ear. The earmold is custom made from an ear impression to perfectly replicate the size and shape of your ear.
An in-the-ear aid does not have the piece behind the ear. All of the mechanical parts of the aid are housed inside a plastic shell that is in the ear. In-the-ear aids come in a variety of sizes including larger ones that fill up the outer part of your ear or smaller ones that fits in part of the outer ear.
ITC hearing aids are inserted into the canal portion of the ear and do not fill up as much of the outer ear. They may require good dexterity to control the volume wheels and other controls on the faceplate and they are smaller than ITEs.
Completely-In-the-Canal units are inserted deeper into the ear canal and is less visible than the other styles of hearing aids. CICs are simple to use and do not usually have manual controls due to their small size.
The OPEN Fit mini-BTE sits behind your ear but is small enough that it usually cannot be seen from the front or side – even for people with short hair styles. The miniature open ear bud sits deep in your ear canal and cannot be seen. The slim tube that connects the OPEN instrument and the ear bud is so small and clear that it is difficult to see. The earpiece may be a “few sizes fits most” dome arrangement or may be a custom made earmold. These aids come in many colors and are appropriate for mild to moderate high frequency (high pitch) hearing losses.
RITE hearing aids are a new style of the Open Fit mini-BTE. RITE hearing aids take the receiver (or speaker) out of the behind the ear portion of the aid and place the receiver directly into the ear canal. The two pieces are connected by a very thin wire encased in plastic tubing. The placement of the receiver in the ear canal tends to enhance natural sound quality. These types of aids may have a custom or standard ear piece . These aids also come in a wide variety of colors and shapes.
A hearing test measures a person’s ability to process sounds of different frequencies and volumes. Hearing tests provide important information that can help you and your doctor decide on the best hearing aid for you.
In most formal situations, an audiologist performs the hearing test with a device called an audiometer. The patient wears headphones or earbuds to ensure that sound is only heard by each ear individually; the test is conducted in a sound-proof room. The audiometer delivers sounds of different frequencies to the right or left ear separately, and the patient indicates that they have heard the sound by verbally replying, or by pushing a button or lifting the hand or a finger on the corresponding side of the body.
For children who cannot or will not cooperate with standard testing, alternatives like visual reinforcement audiometry (which rewards the child with a desirable image) or conditioned play audiometry (which encourages specific play when the sound is heard) may be used. There are specific hearing aids for children that are available for those with hearing loss.
This hearing test gauges how well the patient can detect conversation in quiet and noisy environments, including speech from different directions. The volume of the speech is increased until the person can accurately repeat the phrases about half of the time. This measure is called the speech reception threshold or SRT.
Also called auditory evoked potential (AEP), this test is typically used for individuals who may not be able to participate in standard testing like the pure-tone test. Electrodes are placed on the person’s head to measure the brain waves produced in response to hearing the sounds in the test.
When we hear a sound, a small muscle contained in the inner ear contracts. At what volume level (if at all) this contraction occurs helps the audiologist further determine the extent of hearing impairment.
To check how mobile the person’s eardrum is, this test sends air into the ear canal and measures the movement of the eardrum. Tympanometry is generally used to test for the presence of wax or fluid in the middle ear, or to see whether the eardrum has been perforated.
Please call 212-920-1970 to schedule a hearing test today.
When you arrive for your exam, you will be greeted by the front office staff and asked to fill out several forms, including those that record your personal information, medical history and verify your insurance. You will also receive a copy of a Notice of Privacy as mandated by law.
As your exam begins, your Audiologist will review your personal information with you and will ask you some questions that are designed to discover the specific types of environments in which you may be experiencing some difficulty in hearing.
Next, the Audiologist will look into your ears by using an otoscope. This instrument is used to see the ear canal and the ear drum and whether or not there is ear wax obstructing the canal.
The first test that is conducted is the pure tone hearing test. This is conducted in a quiet environment, sometimes in a soundproof booth. The Audiologist will place headphones that are connected to an audiometer over your ears. The audiometer transmits a series of tones at a variety of volumes into your ears to determine the exact point or "threshold" at which you can hear various frequencies of sounds. When you hear a sound, you will be asked to say "yes" or raise your hand.
The next test is speech testing. The audiologist will ask you to listen to a series of one and two syllable words at different volumes and then ask you to repeat them. This will determine the level at which you can detect and understand speech. Another test that may be conducted is a speech in noise test. This test will determine how well you hear sentences in a noisy environment.
The results of your tests will be recorded on a form called an audiogram, which the Audiologist will review with you. The audiogram reflects your hearing loss in frequencies and decibels. You will be shown the type, pattern and degree of hearing loss, as well as the percentage of normal conversational speech that you are still able to hear. Your Audiologist will then relate these results to your concerns about your hearing. The next step is to consider treatment solutions.