Hearing Aids

While hearing aids cannot restore your hearing to normal, properly selected and well-fitting hearing aids can help you hear much better. Altru's Hearing Center has audiologists on staff who can provide services for the following hearing aids for children and adults.

Types of Hearing Aids

  • Behind-the-Ear: A Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aid is for those with mild to profound hearing loss. All the components of this aid are contained in a slim case worn behind the ear. This aid offers larger controls, which are easier to adjust for some. A custom ear mold is needed for this style of hearing aid.
  • Open Style Behind-the-Ear: A special Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aid specifically designed for individuals with high frequency losses. A custom earmold is not needed.
  • In-the-Ear: In-the-Ear (ITE) hearing aids are for those experiencing mild to severe hearing loss. All the components of this aid are housed in a device that fits in the outer ear and extend into the inner ear canal. ITE hearing aids can have adjustable volume control.
  • In-the-Canal: In-the-Canal (ITC) hearing aids are for those experiencing mild to moderately severe hearing loss. All the components of this aid are housed in a device that fits in the ear opening/canal. This aid is less noticeable than ITE models and may have adjustable volume control.
  • Completely-in-Canal: Completely-in-Canal (CIC) hearing aids are for those experiencing mild to moderately severe hearing loss. All components of this hearing aid are housed in a mold that fits completely into the ear canal. This aid is almost invisible when in the ear, but has no user-adjustable controls.
  • Digital Hearing Aids: Digital hearing aids are being used by people of all ages and lifestyles and have vastly improved hearing aid features and sound quality. Digital technology opens a whole new world of hearing possibilities. Digital Hearing Aids contain a tiny computer chip that remembers your personal needs and makes millions of changes per second automatically. With digital hearing aids, there is no reason to let hearing loss get in the way of living life to the fullest. Digital hearing aids vary in price depending on the level of digital technology. Digital hearing aids also allow for greater flexibility and are a more customized fit depending on each individuals hearing loss.

All size and technology levels of hearing aids are available at Altru's Hearing Center.

Taking Care of Your Hearing Aids

Hearing aids need to be treated with care as would fine jewelry. The better care that can be taken with hearing aids, generally the less they will need repair.

The most common cause of hearing aid repair is earwax, which can plug up the hearing aid and interfere with sound transmission. Therefore, it is very important to keep the hearing aid clean and wax-free. Some hearing aid manufacturers have their own special wax system to help prevent the build-up of wax. It may also be important to have ears cleaned by a physician once or twice a year.

  • Daily cleaning: Wipe the aid with a soft, dry cloth and carefully remove wax from around the receiver.
  • Battery care: Batteries should be kept away from children and pets. Never force a battery into a hearing aid. If a battery door does not close easily, check to make sure that the battery is not inserted upside down.
  • Avoid moisture: Hearing aids should not be worn in or near saunas, steam baths, regular baths, vaporizers, or showers, and never immerse the hearing aid in water. If the hearing aid does become wet let it dry naturally with the battery door left open. Never use a hair dryer or place the hearing aid in the microwave or oven to dry.
  • Handle with care: Be careful not to drop the hearing aid and do not leave the hearing aid where children or pets can mishandle, destroy or even swallow the hearing aid.
  • At night: Simply remove the hearing aid at night and turn the aid off by opening the battery door or switching the hearing aid off. Always insert and remove your hearing aids over a soft surface.

By treating hearing aids with care, they will require fewer repairs and should last for several years.

Steps to Better Hearing

Obtaining hearing aids is not a difficult process. However, careful steps must be taken to ensure that the hearing aids you receive fit your needs.

Step 1

An audiologic evaluation is a comprehensive hearing test conducted by an audiologist to determine if you are a candidate for amplification. These sophisticated tests determine the type and degree of your hearing loss.

Step 2

Obtaining a medical evaluation or medical clearance from a primary care physician should be obtained prior to pursuing amplification. The physician determines if your hearing loss could be improved by medical or surgical treatment.

Step 3

An audiologist will discuss the hearing aid styles and technologies most appropriate for you. This will depend on your lifestyle, activity level, dexterity, cosmetic concerns, and financial limitations. You and your audiologist will also decide whether you need hearing aids in one or both ears. Finally, an earmold impression is made of your ear to provide the exact shape for your hearing aid.