Rehabilitative Services and Hearing Aids

Port Huron Hearing and Balance Center offers a range of styles and technology levels meeting your listening needs and budget.

Hearing Aids

hearing aidsTechnology and lifestyle affect your choice

Hearing aid sizes range from completely in the ear (ITE) to behind the ear (BTE).

Due to wear and tear, exposure to cerumen and the temperature in the ear canal, ITE aids usually perform for 3-5 years. BTE hearing aids last longer needing minor modifications due to the ear growing slightly over time. Technology and multiple microphones have improved a patient’s ability to localize and lateralize multiple sound sources in any size of hearing aid. This makes selecting the size more of a cosmetic decision, than aerodynamic need to place the microphone at the point of the concha.

The level of technology depends on the patient’s hearing loss, listening needs, situation, and expectations

Even ten years ago most hearing aids were simply analog. If the single microphone received a sound, whether speech or the refrigerator running the hearing aid amplified it and created the complaint that hearing aids are “noisy”. When a patient has an active lifestyle with even moderately challenging listening situations, they perform better with more advanced technology. It provides them with higher fidelity, a multiple band signal processing system, multi-channel compression and other features for a comfortable, pleasant listening experience.

Examples of Hearing Aids

There are a large variety of hearing aids to choose from, depending on your lifestyle and needs. Let our audiologists help you select the perfect one. Here you will find some examples of the common types of hearing aids, and you may wish to visit Phonak, Unitron, and Oticon for additional information.

completely in the canal

Completely in the Canal

A completely-in-the-canal hearing aid is the least noticeable style of hearing aid, less likely to pick up wind noise, and doesn’t allow for volume control. The CIC style is cosmetically appealing, requires good dexterity, short battery life, and is appropriate for mild hearing loss.

In the Canal

An in-the-canal hearing aid is a custom molded hearing aid that fits partially in the ear, though not as deeply as the completely-in-the-canal style shown above. The ITC style is cosmetically appealing but slightly bigger than the CIC shown above, requires good dexterity, slightly longer battery life, appropriate for mild hearing loss.

half shell hearing aid

Half Shell

A half shell hearing aid is custom molded also, and fits in the lower portion of your outer ear. The half shell is visible in the ear, easier to handle and manipulate, access to user controls, and appropriate for mild to moderate hearing loss.

full shell hearing aid

Full Shell

The full shell hearing aid is more visible to others because it fills most of the bowl shaped part of your outer ear. The full shell is visible in the ear, easier to handle and manipulate, access to user controls, longer battery life, and appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing loss

behind the ear hearing aid

Behind the Ear

A behind-the-ear hearing aid hooks over the top of your outer ear and rests behind the ear. This style has good durablity, easy to handle and manipulate, easy access to user controls, longer battery life, can be integrated with other audio devices such as telephones and television, and is a powerful and appropriate hearing aid for mild to severe hearing loss.

Slim tube hearing aid

Slim Tube Hearing Aid

The slim tube hearing aid style are small, lightweight, and nearly invisible. Slim tube hearing aids are cosmetically appealing, easy to handle and manipulate, access to user controls, can be integrated with other audio devices such as telephones and televisions, and is good for high frequency hearing loss.

Get The Most Benefit From Your Hearing Aid

Communication strategies and tips

Most importantly – wear your hearing aids! Without making yourself uncomfortable in the adjustment process, build up to wearing the hearing aids all day. This will give your brain consistency in all the auditory information it receives.

  • Be patient

  • Gain the listener’s attention before speaking

  • Rephrase and enunciate versus repeating

  • Look at the person you are speaking to and keep objects (hand, cigarettes, etc) away from your mouth when speaking

  • Have your conversation in the same room as your listener

  • Position yourself with light on your face to enable the listener to gain speech reading cues from your face

  • Use written message when unable to verbally communicate your message

Hearing aid tips

Top communication strategies for success

  • Again – wear them. Without making yourself uncomfortable in the adjustment process, build up to wearing the hearing aids all day. This will give your brain consistency in all the auditory information it receives.

  • Do not try and have a conversation from another room. Eye contact is just as important as it ever was and sound does not travel through walls or around corners well.

  • When you are listening in noise, face the speaker you want to hear and position the majority of the noise behind you. In a restaurant, booths are more helpful than tables to reduce unwanted sounds, conduct your conversations off to the side when in a noisy environment.

  • When attending religious gatherings, lectures, plays, etc sit as close to the front as possible. This will give you better visual cues and provide you with less reverberating sounds (echoes).

  • Ask the person speaking to rephrase what they have said if you do not fully understand.

  • Practice assertive communication skills and let people you know that you have a hearing loss.

  • Having patience goes a long way. Try to remember that no one hears everything correctly all the time.

Do I need two hearing aids?

For almost everyone, the answer is YES!

Having two ears working and having them on each side of the head gives us advantages.

Where is that sound coming from?

Your brain determines the location, or source of the sound by measuring which ear heard the sound louder or first. If one ear always hears the sound louder or first, your mind thinks that everything is coming from that direction.

Use it or lose it

All parts of our body work better when we use them regularly. Muscles become weak if we do not exercise them. The ear also needs “exercise”. Auditory deprivation is when the ear has been deprived from hearing moderate and soft sounds (maybe even loud sound) over a period of time. When the air cells in the inner ear have not been used for a time they do not do their job as well in understanding speech. Putting off amplification may result in future troubles with the ear’s ability to make sense of words. Then when you finally do get amplification, people sound like “Donald Duck” and not like normal speech should sound.

One is the loneliest number

Our brain is used to working with two signals equally from each side of our head. By getting two hearing aids, amplification will be closer to hearing the way you are used to hearing. It allows for better understanding, easier listening in group situations, hearing from greater distances and greater satisfaction with your hearing aid experience. Occasionally, we might see a person who has a “dead ear” that is unable to detect any sound at all or due to a birth defect, an ear is just not there. These are examples of when a person would only benefit from one hearing aid.