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    All About Hearing Aids

    Types and Styles of Hearing Aids continued...

    Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids sit in a hard plastic case behind your ear. A plastic ear mold fits inside the outer ear and directs sound to the ear. A different type, called a Mini BTE, fits entirely behind your ear, with a narrow tube that goes into your ear canal. This helps keep earwax from building up and makes sure your own voice sounds clear. You can use the BTE type no matter your age or amount of hearing loss.

    Be sure to ask if the device you choose has any special features you want. Not all hearing aids have the same ones.

    Directional microphones help you respond better to sound coming from a specific direction and tune out background noise.

    A telephone switch quiets background noise and is better at picking up sounds from the phone. This system can help you hear in theaters, auditoriums, and churches.

    Direct audio input allows you to plug in a remote microphone or FM listening system. You can also connect directly to a TV or other device.

    There are other types of hearing aids for specific types of hearing loss. For example, one type uses a bone vibrator for people without an ear canal or outer ear. Others may attach to eyeglasses. Ask about other devices that may make your hearing aids work better in certain settings.

    Adjusting to Hearing Aids

    It's important to understand that your hearing aid can’t make your hearing what it used to be. But as you use it, you’ll become more aware of sounds and where they are coming from.

    When you first get your hearing aids, be patient. It may take some time to get used to them. In most states, you are allowed a trial period after you buy a device. Then, if yours don't work out for you, you may get a partial refund and be able try a different type that works better for you. Also ask about warranty coverage.

    Take time to learn how your hearing aids work and insist on a good fit. Work closely with your audiologist to avoid problems such as:

    • Discomfort
    • Echo-like sounds from your voice
    • Feedback or a whistling sound
    • Background noise
    • Buzzing with cell phone use

    It may help to start wearing your hearing aids in quiet areas and to keep a diary about how you feel.

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