A hearing aid is a small electronic hearing assist device that you wear in or behind your ear. It makes some sounds louder. A hearing aid can help people hear more in both quiet and noisy situations.

There are different types of hearing aids. They differ by size, their placement on or inside the ear and how much they amplify sound. The hearing aid that will work best for you depends on what kind of hearing loss you have and how severe it is.


Types of Hearing Aids 

Behind-the-ear Hearing Aids 

Behind-the-ear hearing aids require a custom-fitted mold or a universal dome that is inserted into the ear canal. This earpiece is coupled to the device and is used to direct amplified sound to the ear while maintaining placement. 

Behind-the-ear hearing aids are also:

  • the least expensive style of hearing aid
  • require fewer repairs during the life of the device
  • offer more flexibility in programming and adjustment as a result of a larger fitting range
     

In-the-ear Hearing Aids (Custom)

In-the-ear hearing aids are custom molded to fit each individual’s ears and are available in a variety of sizes.

In-the-ear hearing aids are also:

  • easier to use by patients with dexterity issues 
  • easier to use on landline phones 

Examples of Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids

Behind the ear hearing aid

Behind-the-ear hearing aid

Open fit receiver in the canal Front

Open fit/receiver in the canal behind-the-ear hearing aid

Examples of In-the-Ear (Custom) Hearing Aids

Full Shell in the Ear

Full shell in-the-ear hearing aid

Full shell in the ear hearing aid

Half shell in-the-ear hearing aid


Half shell hearing aid

In-the-canal hearing aid

Completely in the canal hearing aid

Completely-in-the-canal hearing aid

Hearing Instrument Technology

Automatic Signal Processing

Hearing instruments can monitor your environment and automatically adjust the volume to make speech audible and reduce background noise. Soft sounds are amplified and loud sounds receive little or no amplification. This type of signal processing keeps the output of the hearing instrument comfortable, so manual changes are unnecessary.

Feedback Management

Feedback is the whistling or buzzing noise that a hearing aid can make. Feedback management technology allows hearing aid users access to increased high frequency amplification without feedback. High frequency information carries the sounds of speech responsible for clarity. It is possible to reduce feedback by reducing the volume, though this can affect the clarity of speech. Modern feedback cancelation methods continually monitor the incoming signal and adjust the hearing instrument to minimize feedback without reducing gain.

Noise Management

The inability to hear amidst background noise (in a restaurant or at a party) is a common complaint among people with hearing loss. Modern hearing instruments are able to continually monitor the incoming signals and determine the amount of noise in the environment. They then automatically minimize background noise. This allows the user to listen to speech more comfortably and clearly in noisy environments. 

Directional Technology

Another type of technology that improves speech understanding in noisy environments is the use of directional microphones. Most directional microphone systems help focus on the sounds of interest coming from the front by reducing amplification from the sides and back of the user. The most current directional microphone systems automatically reduce the noise source in the environment.

Hearing Instrument Features

Wireless Accessories

Wireless accessories are devices that pair with your hearing aids to enable better listening on your Bluetooth compatible cell phone and devices. Wireless accessories can also pair to your television. Ask your audiologists for more detailed information about devices and compatibility.   

Frequently Asked Questions

Our Audiologists

DElia Loriebeth

Loriebeth D'Elia

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Loriebeth D’Elia, AuD, earned a BA in Speech and Hearing Science from The Ohio State University in 2012 and her Doctor of Audiology from the Northeast Ohio Au.D. Consortium in 2016. She is board certified by the American Board of Audiology and is a member of the American Academy of Audiology. Her clinical interests include diagnostics, vestibular assessment, hearing aids and assistive listening devices. 
LauraFeeney

Laura Feeney, AuD

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Laura Feeney, AuD, earned both her bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Science and her doctoral degree in Audiology from The Ohio State University. She has been with the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery since 2007. She is board certified by the American Board of Audiology and is a member of the American Academy of Audiology and the Ohio Academy of Audiology. Laura’s interests include basic audiological testing and working with patients with hearing aids and cochlear implants.

LauraGarish

Laura Garish, AuD

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Laura Garish, AuD, earned her bachelor's degree from The Ohio State University in 1992. In 1994 Laura received her master’s degree from the University of Akron. She worked as the director of Audiology in the Huntington Ear Clinic in Huntington, West Virginia, from 1994-1996. Laura joined the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery here in 1997. Laura completed her doctorate degree in May 2001 at the University of Florida. Dr. Garish is a founding member, board member and treasurer of the nonprofit foundation, Project EAR, Inc. 

BrendaHall

Brenda Hall, AuD

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Brenda Hall, AuD, graduated from the University of North Carolina with a master’s degree in Audiology. She received her doctoral degree from Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2010. She has been a member of the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery since 1991. Her interests include working with patients with cochlear implants and hearing aids.

DebbyLaPrete

Debby LaPrete, AuD

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Debby LaPrete, AuD, received her bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and her master's degree from the University of Cincinnati. She graduated from the Arizona School of Health Sciences with her doctoral degree in Audiology in 2009. Debby has worked at Ohio State since 1994, and specializes in providing services to recipients of cochlear implants and auditory brainstem implants.

CariMickelson

Cari Mickelson, MEd

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Cari Mickelson, MEd, graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Audiology. She has worked in a variety of medical settings for the past 25 years. Her interests include diagnostic audiology and hearing aid dispensing. Cari is a member of the Ohio Academy of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

MelissaSchnitzspahn

Melissa Schnitzspahn, AuD

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Melissa Schnitzspahn, AuD, received her bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Science from The Ohio State University in 1998 and her master’s degree in Audiology from Ohio State in 2000. She obtained her doctoral degree in Audiology from the Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2008. Melissa joined the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery here in 2001, and her interests include hearing aid dispensing and cochlear implants.

SaulStrieb

Saul Strieb, AuD

Audiologist & Vestibular Laboratory Coordinator

Saul Strieb, AuD, obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and his master’s degree in Audiology from the University of Maryland. He received his doctoral degree in Audiology from the University of Florida in 2009. He served as an audiologist at the Washington Hospital Center from 2001 through 2011, before joining the staff of the OSU Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery in 2011. His clinical interests include hearing aids, BAHA, vestibular assessment and treatment of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.

ErynStaats

Eryn Staats, AuD

Audiologist & Audiology Manager, OSU Hearing Professionals

Eryn Staats, AuD, received her bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Science from Ohio University in 1996 and her master’s degree in Audiology from The Ohio State University in 2003. She obtained her doctoral degree in Audiology from the Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2012. Eryn has been an audiologist with the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery here since 2008. Dr. Staats’ clinical interests include diagnostic audiology, bone anchored hearing aids (BAHA), hearing aid dispensing and rehabilitation.

GretchenWaggoner

Gretchen Waggoner, AuD

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Gretchen Waggoner, AuD, earned her bachelor's degree in Speech and Hearing Science from Ohio University in 1994 and her master's degree in Audiology from Bowling Green State University in 1996. She earned her doctoral degree in Audiology from the Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2006. She has been an audiologist in the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery here since 1996. She is a founding member and secretary of Project EAR, Inc. She has participated in seven mission trips and provides diagnostic services and hearing aid fittings. 

Kara Vasil, AuD

Audiologist, OSU Hearing Professionals

Kara Vasil, AuD earned a BS in speech and hearing science from The Ohio State University in 2012 and her Doctor of audiology from the Northeast Ohio Au.D. Consortium in 2016. Her clinical interests include diagnostics, cochlear implantation, hearing aid fitting and assistive devices. She's a research audiologist at Ohio State's Buckeye Center for Hearing and Development. She's a member of the American Academy of Audiology, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Ohio Academy of Audiology.

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