What are open fit hearing aids?
Open fit aids rate very high in the markets, aside from being very tiny in-ear hearing aids. Wearers of older models, which are much larger aids, often feel conscious about their size and visibility, so this option should please them. An open fit hearing aid is similar to a behind-the-ear model as both situate behind the ear. The open fit device has a slim tube that fits into the ear without completely blocking the outside part of the ear. It also has a dome or tip that secures the thin tube in the ear canal. The tube connects to the hearing aid positioned behind the ear.
The open fit mechanism receives sound through a microphone, which changes sound waves into electrical signals. These signals are then sent to an amplifier and the slim tube, which acts as a receiver for the ear. Research has made the mechanism simple, and most hearing aids have similar operating mechanisms with tweaks and upgrades to suit the different needs of hard-of-hearing individuals.
How open fit hearing aids differ from closed fit aids
The major difference lies in the perception of sound in the ear. While no hearing aid sounds 100% natural, reports suggest that open fit aids improve sound quality. This improvement is attributed to the vents that do not block the ear canal, allowing people to hear sounds similar to how they did before their hearing began to fade. The open style dome also has openings that allow other sounds from outside the hearing aid to pass through. Open fit aids are perfect for people with lower to medium levels of hearing loss.
On the other hand, a closed dome is a better option for individuals with more severe hearing loss. Closed fit aids are designed to reduce external sounds while increasing volume in the ear and, if necessary, reducing sound pressure in the ear canal. Custom-made closed domes provide a more comfortable fit but come at a higher cost.
Advantages of open fit hearing aids
- The design of the ear tube prevents wax and moisture buildup.
- They can be supplied and fitted quickly, without the need for a precision mold or waiting period.
- Internal sounds like chewing or coughing are not amplified through the tube.
- There is less feedback with the open fit model.
The slim tubes are inexpensive to replace if they become worn out or broken.
Some disadvantages of open fit hearing aids
- Open fit aids do not accommodate severe hearing loss; they are designed for people who are mildly to moderately hard of hearing.
- They use smaller batteries that may require more frequent replacement than larger aids.
- Ensure that you can afford the expense.
- Some older individuals may find it difficult to manage due to its small size, especially if their fingers are not very flexible.
People with hearing loss have specific needs, and open fit hearing aids may not be suitable for everyone. Consult a hearing healthcare professional to find the best hearing aid for you.
What to look for in an open fit hearing aid
There are an enormous number of providers in the marketplace for open fit hearing aids. The first thing you do is make certain that you are dealing with a reputable company that offers the best service before, and after sales. Once you have made your decision, there are some important things you will need to know.
Here are some of them:
- A warranty period and what it covers.
- One size does not fit all. Everyone’s ear length is different, so you would need a specific length of a slim tube to fit your ear. The provider will be equipped with a sizing guide to measure your ear.
- What is the return policy, and is there a 30-day money back guarantee?
- Would you need a hearing test, and if you do, will there be a charge?
If there is anything else you want to know, do not hesitate to ask the provider to help.
What hearing aids won’t do
No hearing aid, no matter how cheap or how expensive, cannot return your hearing to normal. But they can improve your hearing by amplifying soft sounds. It will just take a bit of time to get used to the new sounds you will be hearing. Give it a chance!
Costs also vary, and the price can depend on the refinements you may want.
If you are unsure whether an open fit hearing aid will suit you, visit a provider who may allow you a free trial period.