Conventional Hearing Aids vs Open Hearing Aids

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Conventional Hearing Aids vs Open Hearing Aids

19 October 2016
Health & Medical , Blog

Being fitted with a hearing aid can be a life changing experience for people suffering from hearing loss. Hearing aids simultaneously improve your ability to hear while also reducing the effect of hearing disorders such as tinnitus. However, many individuals who are fitted with hearing aids complain that they are uncomfortable to wear. One solution to this discomfort is the choice of open hearing aids. Below is a guide to everything you need to know about how open hearing aids differ from conventional hearing aids.

Conventional Hearing Aids

A conventional hearing aid uses ear moulds fitted with microphones to amplify sounds. These solid devices are inserted directly into the wearer's ear canal. While this helps to minimise the visibility of the hearing aid, it can make them uncomfortable to wear. Many wearers also complain that their ears feel blocked.

Conventional solid devices can also cause a problem called the 'occlusion effect'. This issue occurs when the ear mould prevents sounds from exiting the ear canal, resulting in a strange echo whenever the wearer speaks.

Open Fit Hearing Aids

Open fit hearing aids use vented domes rather than solid body ear moulds. The vented domes contain microphones which are inserted into the ear canal in a similar way conventional ear moulds. The dome holds the microphone is position while also allowing sounds to exit and enter the ear canal in an entirely natural way. The main body of the hearing aid is concealed behind the outer ear.

Open fit hearing aids eliminate the 'occlusion effect' and allow for ambient sounds to enter the ear canal, which helps to prevent a jarring cut off of sound in quieter locations. Because they do not fill the ear canal, open fit hearing aids also help to prevent the feeling of the ear being blocked. Because no moulding is required, open hearing aids can fit into a variety of differently shaped ear canals, removing the need and expense of having them specially crafted.

There are a few disadvantages to wearing open fit hearing aids. Open fit hearing aids have limited power and can only be used to combat moderate hearing loss. Open fit hearing aids also tend to be less robust when compared to conventional models, which increases the chance they will suffer damage caused by wear and tear. Also, compared to conventional models, they are less effective at picking up lower frequency sounds.

If you have any questions about the best hearing aid for you, you should contact a hearing aid specialist today.