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Advantages and Disadvantages of Open-Fit Hearing Aids

Buy new digital openfit hearing aids at openfit.com

United States 3/01/2010 10:32 PM GMT (WooEB)

The occlusion effect is a problem with people that wear hearing aids. The occlusion effect is the sensation of the ears being plugged when people are wearing hearing aids. Often voices will sound like they are in a barrel.  Another problem with the use of conventional hearing aids is the size, which gets easily noticed, making many wearers feel embarrassed and frustrated.

Both the above problems can be solved with the use of open fit or open ear digital hearing aids. 
Open-fit hearing aids are growing in popularity very quickly and may one day become the main type of hearing aids sold. Before we get into the advantages of openfit hearing aid, a few definitions:
  • Open-fit hearing aids are small devices that are set up either on top of or behind the ear. They do not block the ear canal as the tubes are very thin.
  • They are so light that wearers don't feel any weight after a few minutes of putting them on.
  • There are two models of open ear hearing aids: acoustic thin tube open fit model and speaker in the ear (SIE) model.
Acoustic Tube Open Fit Model: In this model, all the electronic components are contained in a plastic shell. This is kept behind the ear. The sound first gets processed in this plastic shell, and then moves through the acoustic thin wire to enter the ear.

  Receiver in the Ear (RIC) Model: The RIC model moves the speaker from the plastic shell to the tip of the acoustic thin wire. Therefore, a
RIC open fit hearing aid requires less gain (in amplification) at the ear level to generate the same output in the ear canal. This enables it to be used for a broader range of hearing disabilities. The fitting range is a maximum of 60dB in low-frequency and 80dB in high-frequency. This is an advantage over the acoustic tube open fit model, which is more suitable for high-frequency hearing impairment. In the RIC model, as the sound does not have to move through a thin wire, the quality of the signal gets improved. People who suffer from severe hearing loss can benefit from an RIC hearing aid by wearing it with a dome-tip ear plug, or a custom earmold.

Advantages of Open Ear Hearing Aids
  • The open fit hearing aid diminishes the occlusion effect to a great extent.
  • It is extremely small, light in weight and easy to fit.
  • It is ideal for normal low-frequency hearing impairment. Nowadays, open ear hearing aids, which leave the ear at least partly open, are appropriate for high-frequency hearing disability.
  • They are equipped with directional microphones. This allow the wearers to point directly to the speaker and get better sound clarity, even in a noisy and crowded place.
  • They are available in quite an affordable price range.
Disadvantages of Open Fit Hearing Aids
  • The open ear hearing aids have small batteries with short battery lives.
  • The directional microphones available with them are automatic and cannot be adjusted for volume control.
  • There is a limit to the amplification of sound frequencies in open ear hearing aids.
For the past 4 years, Openfit.com has been an internet leader in selling openfit digital hearing aids.  The hearing aids they sell are the same high quality hearing aids that local audiologist sell.  Best of all, the openfit.com hearing aids are user programmable.  All of the adjustments of the hearing aids can be done on your computer whenever you need an adjustment.   



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