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Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are technological devices worn within the ear that amplify sounds so they can be heard by individuals with hearing loss. Once put into place, a person who otherwise struggled to hear is able to hear sound with greater ease. Though hearing aids are often associated with an aging population, they can be helpful for people of any age who struggle to hear.

The need for a hearing aid often occurs when the inner ear’s sensory cells (also known as inner ear hair cells) suffer damage. More severe damage to the inner ear hair cells causes more hearing loss. This damage can be brought upon by an acute injury, but typically occurs over time — for example as a result of repeated exposure to loud sounds that causes the inner ear hair cells die. Noise-induced hearing loss and age-related hearing loss often start with difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds but can make it difficult to hear all sounds. Hearing loss of this sort makes it difficult to understand speech if surrounded by other sounds, and unlike other causes (such as ear infection, otosclerosis, earwax or ruptured eardrum), this hearing loss is not currently irreversible.

Hearing aids now come in a variety of styles to fit individual needs, including:

Completely in the canal (CIC)

Molded to fit completely in an individual’s ear canal, a CIC or mini-CIC hearing aid is the most discreet hearing aid and is helpful for adults whose hearing loss is mild or moderate.

In the canal (ITC)

Though not as discreet as a CIC hearing aid, ITC hearing aids are customized to fit partly in the ear canal. ITC hearing aids are for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss.

In the ear (ITE)

Useful for those with mild to severe hearing loss, an ITE hearing aid either fits the lower part of the outer ear (known as a half shell) or the entire bowl-shaped area of the outer ear (full shell).

Behind the ear (BTE)

With a BTE hearing aid, a plastic piece rests behind the ear and is connected to an ear mold in the ear canal through a thin tube. These hearing aids may be used by infants, children and adults. 

Receiver in canal or in the ear (RIC/RITE)

RIC and RITE aids are very similar to BTE aids in appearance, and can be used for people of all ages. However, instead of a tube, a tiny wire connects the two pieces.

Open fit

While similar to a BTE and RIC, the open fit hearing aid does not completely block the ear canal. Because of this, the device is slightly smaller and enables natural sound and amplified sound to complement one another without changing the quality of the sound that doesn’t require amplification.

Custom molding ensures each hearing aid properly fits the individual for whom it is made, preventing the hearing aid from shifting out of place or falling out of the ear.

Why Temple Health for Hearing Aids?

A regional and national leader in the diagnosis and treatment of an array of audiology issues, the Temple Head & Neck Institute provides immediate access to the latest in surgical and nonsurgical treatments for hearing loss. In addition to fitting and maintaining hearing aids, Temple Health’s team of otolaryngologists, audiologists, otologists and neurotologists provide care for the spectrum of affiliated conditions and diseases from three locations throughout the Philadelphia area.

At the the Temple Head & Neck Institute, patients have access to the most advanced diagnostic and therapeutic methods.

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