Quick – what image comes to mind when you think of a hearing aid? Something like this, right?
That’s not surprising. It’s the protypical shape of Behind-The-Ear (BTE) style hearing aids, and what you’ll most likely see if you Google “hearing aid.” It is the shape of a “standard” hearing aid, which account for 8 of every 10 hearing aids fit.
What you don’t see very often (which is why it may not have come to mind) are “custom” hearing aids. Why? Well to be frank, they aren’t as photogenic. Custom hearing aids are molded and fit to each person’s unique ear shape, so they tend to look a bit like indistinguishable blobs. See what we mean?
The advantages of custom hearing aids
Look past their shape, though, and custom hearing aids have a lot going for them. Let’s go over some of those advantages now.
They’re called custom for a reason
Just as no two people are alike, no two sets of ears or hearing needs are the same. Custom hearing aids were engineered to take advantage of that.
Each one is molded and made to fit the wearer’s unique ear anatomy. Your hearing professional will make a quick, painless earmold while you’re in the office. They then send that mold to the manufacturer, where the hearing aid shell and components are precision-crafted to specifications.
The results are hearing aids that fit more easily and snugly than standard hearing aids — and a hearing solution that is personalized just for you, literally from the inside out.
Custom hearing aids can sound more natural
Two features of custom hearing aids help them deliver a more natural sound to their wearers.
One is the proximity of the hearing aid receiver to the eardrum. Because custom hearing aids like the Completely-in-Canal (CIC) and Invisible-in-Canal (IIC) rest deeper in the ear canal than other hearing aids, their receiver is closer to the ear drum or tympanic membrane — the part of the ear responsible for transferring soundwaves to the inner ear. This proximity helps deliver superior sound quality with a lower overall volume.
The other is that, unlike standard hearing aids, whose microphones sit and “collect” sounds from behind the ear, the microphone of custom hearing aids rests in the ear itself. This lets them take advantage of your ear’s pinna (the external part of the ear) to first “funnel” sounds to the microphone — mimicking the ear’s natural process. The result? You’re better able to tell where sounds are coming from, and high-frequency sounds are heard more naturally.
Better in wind …
Your pinna also helps shield against wind noise — and the placement of custom hearing aids takes advantage of that too. Because the hearing aid microphone rests in the ear rather than behind it, it’s more guarded from wind and less susceptible to wind noise.
… and easy to put in and take out
Whereas standard hearing aids have two parts that need to be “put on” — the part that goes behind the ear, and the part that goes in the ear — custom hearing aids come in one piece and go in and out of your ear smoothly. And because they’re custom molded to your unique ear shape, they fit snug and sound.
Atypical hearing aids for a once-in-a-lifetime individual
When President Ronald Reagan was fit with Starkey custom hearing aids in 1983, it was one of the first times the world got to see a hearing aid that wasn’t the prototypical standard shape. And the world took notice, as hearing aid purchases nearly doubled soon after the President went public with his hearing loss treatment.
Reagan picked Starkey because we were the pioneers in custom-fit hearing aids. We are still the leaders today.
Custom hearing aids — where art and science meet
Custom hearing aids represent the best of hearing aid science combined with the personal care and prescriptive treatment plan that only an experienced hearing healthcare professional can provide.
If you want a personalized hearing solution truly designed for your one-of-a-kind needs and wants, ask about custom hearing aids. Click here to find a hearing professional in your area who can fit them.
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