Buying the appropriate hearing aid can be difficult, particularly if you are unfamiliar with what makes one model different than the next. This article explains more about open fit hearing aids, a style that has been rapidly growing in popularity among seniors.

If you’re familiar with behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids, you will notice that open fit hearing aids share many similarities. This type of hearing aid consists of a plastic case that rests behind the ear and a small tube that connects the case to the ear canal. However, open fit hearing aids are considerably smaller than their behind-the-ear counterparts.

Better ventilation to the ear is probably the largest differentiating factor of the open fit hearing aid. The open fit design allows low frequency sounds to enter the ear without being amplified. This offers a more comfortable and natural experience to those with mild to moderate hearing loss that are able to hear low frequency sounds without amplification. For the wearer, this means that distracting sounds such as your own chewing or coughing are not amplified resulting in greater comfort and satisfaction.

The smaller size of the open fit hearing aid is another advantage. Unlike other types of hearing aids, this style is small enough to easily disguise, making them a great choice for users who may be self-conscious about needing a hearing aid.

There are some disadvantages to open fit hearing aids, especially for users with severe hearing issues. At high levels of amplification (required for individuals with severe hearing loss) the open fit devices often suffer from feedback noise. The hearing aid’s small size can also work against it, as people who do not have fine motor skills often find it difficult to operate such a small device. Because of its small size, this device uses very small batteries, potentially making regular changes or recharges necessary.

Open fit hearing aids may have their flaws, but they are still a great choice for many users. Check in with your hearing professional to learn more about this popular and unobtrusive style of hearing aid.