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What is an Air Conduction Hearing Aid?

a hearing specialist is showing her patient a hearing aid

Various choices of hearing instruments are available for people who have hearing loss. Different types of hearing aids can be useful for different types and levels of hearing loss. If you would benefit from the use of hearing aids, a hearing instrument specialist can help you to determine which options might be best for your needs. Air conduction hearing aids are one option that is available, used by the majority of people with hearing loss. In addition to air conduction hearing aids, some other options include bone conduction hearing aids and cochlear implants. Read on to find out more about air conduction hearing aids and other types of hearing instruments too.

What are air conduction hearing aids?

Conventional hearing aids are one of two types: air conduction hearing aids or bone conduction hearing aids. You are most likely familiar with air conduction hearing aids already. They are the type that is worn behind the ear or inside the ear or ear canal. They can simply be worn when needed, although some styles might require fitting to make sure that they are comfortable. Bone conduction hearing aids, on the other hand, require an implant. Bone-anchored hearing aids (BAHAs), as they are sometimes called, attach to a small implant that is surgically attached to the skull.

Air conduction hearing aids will likely be the first choice for most people who have hearing loss. They amplify sound by delivering the output of the hearing aid into the ear canal. These hearing aids come in a variety of styles with a wide range of features. Different styles can be useful for different levels of hearing loss. They will also have varying features, depending on their size and even how modern they are. Air conduction hearing aids are used for sensorineural hearing loss and some conduction hearing loss too.

Other types of hearing device

There are also other types of hearing devices that can help people with hearing loss. Bone conduction hearing aids are another type of hearing aid that is suitable for some people. There are also several types of implants that can be useful for some types of hearing loss.

Bone-anchored hearing aids

Bone-anchored hearing aids or bone conduction hearing devices are another option for people who might not get the best experience from air conduction hearing aids. They can be useful for people who have collapsed ear canals, for example. They use an implant inserted into the bone behind the ear. It uses the vibration of the bone to send sound straight to the cochlear.

Middle ear implants

A middle ear implant is another type of implant, which can be useful for people who have either sensorineural or conductive hearing loss of mild to moderate severity. It can be an option for people unable to wear an air conduction hearing aid due to irritation, allergies, malformed ears or other issues. It has an internal part, including a receiver just below the skin and an implant attached to one of the small ear bones or near the membrane window of the cochlear and an external processor.

Cochlear implants

Cochlear implants are offered as an option to people who have a severe or profound hearing loss. The implant can help to provide a sense of sound, although it is not the same as a natural cochlear. It's important to understand what can be expected from a cochlear implant, but they can be best for people who lose their hearing after having learned spoken language. They work by directly stimulating the auditory nerve.

Auditory brainstem implants

People with profound sensorineural hearing loss might also explore the option of an auditory brainstem implant. This consists of an external processor worn on the ear and a surgically-implanted internal part. The implant bypasses the cochlear and hearing nerve, sending sound straight to the brainstem.

Styles of air conduction hearing aids

Air conduction hearing aids come in various styles. They can be worn behind the ear, in the ear, in the ear canal and more. Some styles of hearing aids include behind the ear (BTE), in the ear (ITE), in the canal (ITC), completely in canal (CIC) and invisible in canal (IIC). These all offer different levels of visibility. Generally, the smaller models are slightly less powerful, so some might not be suitable for more severe hearing loss. You can also explore many different features that will help you to choose hearing aids that are suitable for your hearing needs.

Learn more about The Hearing House online, or get in touch by calling us at 715-384-4700 to speak to someone about hearing aids and instruments.