Hearing Aid Information

The waiting room at Legacy Hearing Centers in Alexandria.

Hearing Aid Technology Today

Did you know that 38 million Americans have experienced some level of hearing loss? You are not alone! Today's hearing aids are technological miracles. There are hearing aids to fit every budget, preference, hearing loss, and lifestyle. These powerful hearing instruments have come so far in recent years. 

Hearing aids come in several shapes and sizes, but they all have the same basic "guts". Every hearing aid is battery powered and is comprised of at least one microphone to pick up sound, a computer chip to process and amplify sound as well as a speaker that sends the signal to your ear. 

When you meet with our hearing professional you will be able to work together to find the style and fit that is right for your budget, lifestyle, and hearing loss. 

Let's explore a little bit about these different options below so you have some knowledge going into your appointment. There are two main groups of hearing aids the In The Ear (ITE) and Behind The Ear (BTE). Each of these main categories have subcategories. 


In The Canal (ITC)

Their sizes range from virtually invisible when worn to filling the entire bowl of the ear when worn.

  • Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) and completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids: IIC and CIC styles are the tiniest hearing aids made. They fit very deeply in the ear canal and are typically fit to help correct mild or moderate hearing losses. Their size and ability to “disappear” when worn depend on the size of the ear canal. Because of their tiny size, they offer high cosmetic appeal for people who desire a discreet solution.

  • In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids: ITC styles sit in the lower portion of the outer ear bowl, making them comfortable and easy to use. Because they are slightly larger than IIC and CIC styles, they have a longer battery life, are easier to handle and can fit a wider range of hearing losses.

  • Low profile hearing aids: Low profile styles range from half-shell (HS) designs that fill half the bowl of the outer ear to designs that fill almost the entire outer ear bowl. The size of a low profile style makes it desirable for people with dexterity issues because it is easier to handle than the smaller sizes. Low profile hearing aids are large enough to accommodate helpful features like directional microphones, volume controls and program buttons.


Behind The Ear (BTE)

Behind-the-ear styles have become more popular due to innovations that make the tiniest BTE hearing aids some of the most cosmetically appealing with very thin ear tubes and ear tips that fade discreetly into the ear canal. They have enough physical space to house features for a variety of hearing losses, have ample battery life and are easy to handle.

  • Mini BTE hearing aids with slim tubes and tips: Mini BTE styles are designed to hide behind the outer ear and have ultra-thin tubing to discreetly route sound into the ear. This style is so popular that a greater variety of ear tips have become available in order to accommodate a greater degree of hearing loss with the mini BTE.

  • Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) or receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids: RITE and RIC styles have the speaker built into the ear tip instead of the main body of the hearing aid. This allows the speaker of the hearing aid to be positioned closer to the eardrum while the microphone and processor sit in a tiny case behind the ear.

  • BTE hearing aids with earmolds: BTE styles that come with earmolds can fit any type of hearing loss, from mild to profound. Their longer shape follows the contour behind the outer ear and can generally house more features, controls and power than any other style of hearing aid.

Hearing Aid Technology & Fitting


The Technology Behind Helping You Hear Better


Nearly all modern hearing aids are digital and require professional fitting and programming by a hearing care practitioner. These hearing aids offer far greater flexibility than previous hearing aid generations because the programmer can set them to amplify precisely the frequencies needed for each individual. As the level of technology increases from basic to advanced, hearing aid features become more automatic and more dynamic to adjust quickly to any listening situation. Some hearing aids today even have user-centered features like voice prompts for low battery and program changes.

Many of the hearing aids produced today use wireless technology. This allows two hearing aids to operate together as one complete system, instead of acting as two independent devices. This action mimics the way two properly functioning ears work with the brain to process sound. Additionally, wireless technology gives hearing aid wearers a greater ability to customize their experience and program their devices.

Wireless hearing aids are often capable of connecting with external devices as well, such as MP3 players, TVs, computers and mobile phones equipped with bluetooth technology. Bluetooth enables hearing aid wearers to connect personal electronic devices and stream signals directly to their hearing aids. Today’s hearing aids do more than just help you hear better. They are sophisticated consumer electronics devices that boast amazing technology. Some hearing aids even connect to wireless automation that runs your house such as your security system, lights, television, and even your coffee maker! 

Otoscope and an audiogram

Fitting Your Hearing Aids


Once a hearing healthcare professional recommends hearing aids for you, a number of factors will be considered when selecting and fitting a device. The best fit for you will depend not only on the severity and type of hearing loss you have but also the following factors:

  • Budget
  • Cosmetic preferences
  • Social preferences
  • Career demands
  • Hobbies
  • Other physical challenges and dexterity issues
  • Attitudes about technology
  • Any needed accessories

Because hearing aids are such personalized marvels of technology, not every brand, style or technology level of hearing aid is suited for everyone. Even two people with the same hearing loss may end up with different hearing aids based on other selection criteria. This can make comparing and reviewing hearing aids difficult. It’s best to talk to your hearing healthcare provider about what options and features are ideal for you.

Hearing healthcare professionals will perform an initial fitting where they fine-tune features and adjust levels to ensure you are getting the most benefit from the devices. It is important to note there is an adjustment period when wearing new devices, and it takes time to get used to new hearing aids, even if you’ve worn some type of hearing aid for many years. Wear the hearing aids according to the instructions of your hearing healthcare professional and keep them informed of any challenges you encounter along the way.

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Hearing Aids Information

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We look forward to hearing from you!

Legacy Hearing Centers

507 North Nokomis St Suite A, Alexandria MN 56308

Phone: (320) 219-7744 Fax: (320) 287-7000 John@LegacyHearingCenters.com