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Think You Know Hearing Aids? Think Again! Learn About Today’s Discreet Options

Whether occasional hearing support is needed, or severe loss is experienced, there is a comfortable, discreet option on the market. If you can wear ear buds or headphones, a hearing aid should not be a problem.

Your hearing has been an issue lately and your friends and family are asking you to get a hearing test. However, you hesitate. You don’t want to be told you need a hearing aid. Aren’t they bulky, obvious and difficult to manage?

No. There are many options for hearing aids. HearingLife Canada not only provides hearing tests and hearing aids, they provide education to help remove the stigma of hearing loss/aids and to empower informed choices.

“Most often, a person’s perception of hearing aids comes from older family members,” explains Jillian Price, Director, Audiology & Client Experience, Chief Audiologist. “However, those hearing aids are from the past. If you grew up seeing grandma or grandpa with a big, bulky device, know that is not the case anymore. The technology has moved ahead. Think of what a hearing aid is; it’s a computer – electronics. How fast have electronics changed over the past few years? Hearing aids are absolutely in that category and subject to the same level of innovation.”

Price goes on to note, “In addition to changing tech, the makers of hearing aids listen very closely to consumer demand. The demand is for smaller, more discreet devices, so that is what is being produced. Often when we see people coming in for aids, their experience or idea of the device is 10-15 years out of date. That simply isn’t today’s reality.”


Modern options include:

  • In-ear aids: for mild to moderate hearing loss, in-ear aids are the most discreet types on the market. A range of sizes are available depending on the level of loss. While more visible, the larger sizes still sit inside the canal (with one type extending over outer bowl of the ear) and do not impact hair, earrings, headwear or glasses. Most are easy to insert and remove and a personalized fit means the utmost in comfort. Some in-ear aids have Bluetooth® for direct streaming from electronic devices.
    • Completely-in-canal and in-the-canal: practically invisible once fitted, these very tiny devices can be manually controlled to adjust for different environments. Attributes like long battery life and directional microphones make these an attractive option for those that want (and whose needs are suitable for) a zero-visibility device
    • The half-shell: This aid sits in the canal and is visible at the outer bowl of the ear, yet it is still quite discreet. It is a small model designed for more severe hearing loss.
    • The full-shell: fits into the canal and the outer bowl and is for high levels of hearing loss.
  • Behind-the-ear (BTE) aids: BTEs have a body that sits behind the ear and a clear tube that extends to the device inside the ear canal. They are smaller and more discreet, and more powerful and adaptable than the BTE aids of the past. Many are Bluetooth® compatible.
    • RITE and miniRITE are BTE aid types that are smaller than traditional BTEs. Despite their smaller size, they can be used for mild to severe hearing loss. A BTE does not always translate to “greater loss.” For those with low dexterity or that suffer from a buildup of wax and moisture in the ears, in-ear aids are difficult to place, adjust and clean. For some, BTEs can be easier to handle and clean. RITE and miniRITE provide a high level of discretion and comfort in those cases.

Whether occasional hearing support is needed, or severe loss is experienced, there is a comfortable, discreet option on the market. If you can wear ear buds or headphones, a hearing aid should not be a problem. When you consider the many advancements, including direct streaming Bluetooth® and directional microphones that reduce background noise, one should be in a hurry to hear what they have been missing.

Today’s hearing aids are discreet technical devices that get you back to participating fully in your life. When you can hear what is going on, you can engage with all of your senses. Learn more at HearingLife and find a clinic near you today.

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