Open Fit Hearing Aids
As our patients know, we have significant reservations about patients wearing the tiny, completely-in-the-canal hearing aidsespecially individuals who have normal hearing in the low frequencies with only a high frequency hearing loss. We usually suggest the use of a behind-the-ear style aid with a special earmold designed to guide the high frequency sound into the ear canal without blocking the canal. This design allows patients to hear the low- to mid-frequency sounds in a natural way while also hearing the missing high frequency information. Also, the earmold does not plug the ear canal, preventing significant reverberations, hollowness, or a “plugged up” feeling (as with a bad head cold).
Now there are new instruments available that are extremely small and hide behind almost all patients ears. They have very thin tubing, which is virtually invisible. The tubing curves around the ear and enters the ear canal. Because these new aids have an open fit and do not occlude the ear canal, they have all the advantages of the styles we have been recommending for yearsbut are almost totally invisible. It is specifically designed for those who have mild to moderate high frequency hearing loss. Not only are these quite sophisticated instruments, but we have affectionately labeled them as the “have your cake and eat it too hearing aids.”
A full line of the open fit BTEs are available. These aids are highly functional digital instruments with the latest in technology (the cake). They are also small, light weight, and almost invisible behind-the-ear aids (eat it too). In a short period of time these have become the instrument of choice among our patients with high frequency or mild hearing loss.
Based on feedback from our patients, these hearing aids have been a great success. Whether the patient is a new or experienced hearing aid user, their comments have been positive. New patients like the ability to have an instant and precise fitting since there is not a custom earmold that needs to be ordered. Our experienced hearing aid patients have reported improved sound quality and comfort.
If it is time to replace your current aids or you have not purchased aids due to comfort or fitting issues, now may be the time. Audiologists are always available to discuss your options. Call to schedule an appointment with your audiologist and they will let you know if these new models are an option for you.