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Blackminster Hearing Centre
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Open Fittings
&
Loudspeaker In The Ear Fittings


A few years ago two totally new styles of hearing aid appeared the Open Fitting & the Loudspeaker In The Ear models.

Essentially, these new Open FittingLoudspeaker In The Ear models can perform as well as, and often bettrer than, most older Behind The Ear designs .. but in a smaller and almost invisible package.

I feel that these new designs are also less visible than most In The Ear models.


On top of all this, these new Open FittingLoudspeaker In The Ear models use an "instant fit" design and so can usually be fitted on the day of your hearing test.

The almost invisible fit, plus the improved comfort, and the "instant fitting" of these models means that they are displacing the more traditional chunky Behind The Ear models, and even many In The Ear models.

The era of taking resin impressions of your ears and then waiting for customised plastics to be made to fit your ears is almost over!

Only people with very Severe or Profound losses still need the traditional large Behind The Ear hearing aids ... maybe 90% of hard-of-hearing  people can be fitted with either an Open Fitting or a Loudspeaker In The Ear hearing aid style.

We now see many more hard-of-hearing people adopt these models.


The benefits are clear ... especially in comparison with the disadvantages of the older styles
.



Open  Fittings


This design consists of a very small module which hides behind the ear. This module contains a tiny battery, a digital computer chip and one of more tiny microphones.

These new designs are VERY small and can be almost invisible.

This is a typical Open Fitting model - in this case, from GN Resound:

Open


The hearing aid module fits behind the ear and an almost invisible sound pipe connects to the tiny "dome" which nestles in your ear canal.

The thin plastic sound pipe carries sound from a loudspeaker in the hearing aid body into the "dome".

This configuration allows the hearing aid to deliver amplified sound to the ear.

 (Open Fittings originally could only boost high frequencies - but the latest models can now handle a much wider range of hearing losses)

This picture of an open fit product from Starkey shows the low visibility of the Open Fitting style.

Aspect


This technology can handle Mild and/or High Frequency hearing losses ... but is not so effective in helping with Severe and/or Low Frequency losses. This slightly limits the number of people who can be successfully fitted with this style.

However, for many people,  the new
Open Fitting models can perform as well as most older Behind The Ear designs .. but in a smaller and almost invisible package. I feel that these new designs are also less visible than most In The Ear models.

On top of all this, these new 
Open Fittings models use an "instant fit" design and so can usually be fitted on the day of your hearing test.

Open Fitting Benefits

* Low visibility

* Improved ear ventilation

* Natural low frequency sounds can enter the ear 

* Greatly reduced occlusion ("head in a barrel") effect

* High frequency sounds can be be boosted

* Very comfortable fit

* Same day fitting possible

* Ideal for many Mild, Moderate and/or High Frequency hearing losses ... but NOT for more severe losses

* Can help maybe 60% of hard-of-hearing people

* Easy and cheap to clean & maintain


Open Fitting Snags

* Not suitable for major hearing losses

* Bass low-frequency performance isn't wonderful


Loudspeaker In The Ear (LITE)  Fittings

Note: Some manufacturers call this style of hearing aids RITE (Receiver In The Ear), SIE (Speaker In the Ear) or CRT (Canal Receiver Technology) hearing aids.

Like the Open Fittings shown earlier, this design consists of a very small module which hides behind the ear. This module contains a tiny battery, a digital computer chip and one of more tiny microphones.

Like the Open Fittings these new designs are VERY small and can be almost invisible.
They look very similar to Open Fittings models - but in fact work differently.

This is a typical Loudspeaker In The Ear model - in this case, from Unitron:

Moxi


The hearing aid module fits behind the ear and a "dome" fits in the ear canal, just as with an Open Fitting model.

However in this style the tiny loudspeaker is IN THE DOME and NOT in the hearing aid body!


The thin plastic pipe joining the "dome" to the hearing aid does NOT carry sound ... it contains a very thin electrical wire to drive the loudspeaker.

This fine almost invisible wire connects to a tiny "dome" which nestles in your ear canal.

The tiny "dome" contains a miniature loudspeaker which feeds the boosted sound to your ear ... so the loudspeaker is actually INSIDE your ear canal, and not at the end of a plastic sound tube!

This configuration allows the hearing aid to deliver low frequency sound as well as high frequency sound. (Open Fittings aren't wonderful with low frequencies)

This new technology can handle a wide range of hearing losses from Mild to Severe.

In other words a Loudspeaker In The Ear model can help correct many types of hearing loss ... and NOT just the medium level of hearing losses that the Open Fitting style can assist with.

Loudspeaker In The Ear Benefits

* Low visibility

* Improved ear ventilation

* Natural low frequency sounds can enter the ear (if required)

* Greatly reduced occlusion ("head in a barrel") effect

* High frequency AND/OR low frequency sounds can be be boosted

* High power outputs possible if needed

* Very comfortable fit

* Same day fitting possible

* Ideal for almost all Mild to Severe hearing losses

* Can help maybe 90% or more of hard-of-hearing people


Loudspeaker In The Ear Snags

* These models can be a bit tricky to clean and maintain, and the 'consumables' can be a bit expensive.


Note: If you have a Profound loss then sadly you may need a traditional Behind The Ear hearing aid for best results.

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