Given the many different hearing aids currently available, you may find it challenging to tell which type is the best choice for you or your loved one. This article will offer a brief introduction to open fit hearing aids – a relatively new design that is becoming more popular.
If you are familiar with behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids, you’ll immediately notice that open fit hearing aids share many similarities. This type of hearing aid consists of a plastic case that rests behind the ear and a small tube that connects the case to the ear canal. However, the case and the tube on the open fit hearing aids are substantially smaller than on behind-the-ear hearing aids.Better ventilation to the ear is probably the largest differentiating factor of the open fit hearing aid. Low frequency sounds are able to enter the ear without being amplified. This allows many people with mild to moderate hearing loss who are still able to hear low frequency sounds to have a more comfortable and natural experience. For the wearer, this means that distracting sounds such as your own chewing or coughing are not amplified resulting in greater comfort and satisfaction.
Open fit hearing aids are smaller than many other devices, which for many is another advantage. Many users are able to disguise these devices, making them a favorite among listeners who are self-conscious about having to use a hearing aid.
Open fit hearing aids do have downsides, particularly for users who have deep hearing loss. The levels of amplification needed for users with major hearing loss often lead to feedback noise due to the device’s openness. The hearing aid’s small size can also work against it, as people who do not have fine motor skills often find it difficult to operate such a small device. Finally, this type of hearing aid uses very small batteries, so users are required to change or charge them on a regular basis.
Despite its flaws, the open fit hearing aid is a great choice for many users. Consider your own preferences and talk to your hearing professional to determine if this type of device may be right for you.