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Open Ear Fitting Hearing Aids – History and Benefits

by MBMoro on March 11, 2011

Open Fit Hearing Aid

The biggest change in the hearing aids market that happened till now is the introduction of digital technology. In the beginning we had a simple ear trumpet and then we saw the first ever hearing aid that looked like a little box that would sit around your neck or in your breast pocket. This was named “body worn hearing aid”. Then we had the introduction of the first ever BTE (behind the ear) hearing aids. They were really large and sat behind the wearer’s ear. A microphone was included and positioned towards the outside. Analogue ITE (in the ear) hearing aids also appeared. This was a really important breakthrough because the devices also catered to the person’s cosmetic requirements.

Programmable analogue hearing aids appeared next and then we saw open ear hearing aids. The gadgets revolutionized the market as they offered dual microphones, noise filters, clarity and a very good programming level. Nowadays regular digital hearing aids look antique if we compare with what can be purchased.

In the past 5 years we saw a huge boom in the hearing aids market. The biggest accomplishment was the appearance of Open Fit Hearing aids. The first model was produced by Resound and it was named Contact Air. It was made out of a really small pod that was positioned behind the ear and it used 10 hearing battery, one thin tube that was carrying the sound towards the ear and a soft dome that it was connected to, which was fitted in the wearer’s ear canal. The hearing aids immediately gained popularity and basically marked a real revolution in technology. Oticon quickly launched a similar open fitting hearing aid in the Delta model while Phonak Hearing Aids produced the Audeo and Savia Art models. Delta also marked an important step in hearing aids development with the introduction of Receiver in the Ear technology (RITE). This removed acoustic vagaries that appeared with thin tubing as it was basically replaced with a wire that would carry sound electronically.

Benefits of Open Fitting Hearing Aids

Open fitting hearing aids stand out as preferred by many people and we can highlight different reasons why this is reality.

  1. Open Ear Hearing Aid

    Comfort – We have no mould that would seal our ear with open fitting hearing aids. The device includes a rubber dome that sits inside the ear canal and no unnecessary perspiration appears. This basically allows the ear to naturally breathe, just as if there was no hearing aid being worn. Most people feel very comfortable when using open fit hearing aids.

  2. Sound Quality – What is interesting with such hearing aids is the fact that they allow the wearer to use all of the natural hearing that they have remaining while offering a needed boost. This is usually done in high and mid pitch sounds. Speech hearing is improved and becomes clearer. Such an effect currently offers us the closest possible quality to natural hearing that is possible with a hearing aid device.
  3. Costs – Contrary to what many believe, an open ear hearing aid will not cost that much as they are not custom made. The devices are factory made. This basically means that you have access to a higher technology while paying a smaller price tag. We should also add the fact that these instruments stand out as more reliable when compared with ITE hearing aids due to the fact that they are mostly factory manufactured.
  4. Discretion – In these hearing aids we have a thin wire that is used in a connection with a small pod unit located behind your ear. This basically makes open fitting hearing aids really discrete and it will be really hard to notice that someone is wearing them.
  5. Reliability – Hearing aids have their biggest enemies in moisture and ear wax. As soon as we notice ear wax reaching the inside of a regular hearing aid problems appear. Wax is going to block aid openings and the devices are only going to work again when the wax is removed. This will create damage for the hearing aid and you might end up with a need to repair or replace it. An open fitting hearing aid has its components located outside our ears and this keeps them away from moisture and wax.

Should You Buy Open Fitting Hearing Aids?

Most people do want to buy open fitting hearing aids due to the many benefits that they offer. The problem is that we need to understand that the first step in purchasing any hearing aid is consulting an audiologist. This is true because he is the only person that can properly assess your hearing loss levels and can recommend an appropriate device to use. In the event that an open ear hearing aid is suitable for your personal needs then you should seriously consider buying it.

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