Appearance of HAs / going against audi form factor recommendation

After my experience traveling this past weekend and week I was thinking about something and wanted to bounce it off the community here. People with normal hearing generally assume people they interact with have normal hearing.

So, short of wearing a shirt or a lapel button that announces one is hard of hearing (which I have actually encountered before; a groomer at the Petco we used before we moved cross country wore a button that said along the lines of “I am hard of hearing please face me and speak clearly”), has anyone purposefully chosen a more “prominent” style of aid like an ITE or BTE with earmolds against the advice of their audiologist that a CIC/IIC/RIC could meet the need for their loss? I wonder if this would work toward breaking the stigma but also to say to others “hey, need a little help here”? Is this even a thing that CAN be done? Seems like yeah but I am claiming new guy still so :slight_smile:

I am doing an IIC trial but I was giving this some thought as (1) my audi said RIC or IIC for me and (2) some folks seem to be REALLY hung up on others not knowing they are hard of hearing or deaf (trust me, they probably know).

I was very explicit with the form factor of my HAs when I first got them a year ago. One thing to take into consideration when chosing between a ric and iic, is that ric should perform better in noisy environments. This is based on a oticon white paper I read. Basically, four microphones instead of two and binaural communication enables better performance in noise.

I would never recommend against a hearing aid just because of its size. If the patient wants a BTE, I’m happy to help them out. ITE? Great. If they have mild hearing loss and they want an ultrapower BTE, then yeah I would recommend against that.


Yeah only thinking form factor. Power over what is necessary, that would strike me as odd too.

I tell my Audi that I am more comfortable with the ITE half shell aids, but I then aid please tell me your recommendation if it is different for my hearing needs. For me I just want to be able to understand speech the very best I can. I am willing to wear a body aid if it would help me understand speech better. If I am with someone that doesn’t know me and I cannot fully understand them, I do not say “What”, I just tell them I am hard of hearing and I wear hearing aids and I need them to speak clearly and face me.


Well my hearing loss is profound with awful speech comprehension. So I wear bte hearing aids which slips by a lot of people because people aren’t very observant and let’s be serious no one looks at a person’s ears when they’re talking to you. So I most definitely try to explain to people that I’m almost deaf even with my hearing aids. Sometimes that works but if it doesn’t I may go into further detail explaining face to face communication etc. These people can hear so they don’t understand. If that doesn’t work I imagine myself as qickdraw mcgraws alter ego and become El kabong and hit them over the head with my guitar. Oops, I think I’m showing my age.


My hearing loss is comparable to yours. I find young people talk way too fast and elide a lot of syllables - including my own children and grandchildren. I have to keep reminding even them to speak more slowly and clearly :smirk:. Asian voices are especially difficult for me because they are more melodic. Having phone conversations coming directly into my ears with the iPhone app has been a pure blessing.


I don’t see why there would be a professional objection to an over-ear aid. (I am not an HA professional.) It is a good basic design, does what it needs to do, with potentially less compromise or cost than an in-the-ear device.

However a BTE today is NOT “prominent”. My wife can hardly see mine. I remember when they were bigger than a finger, now more like a large bean.

You can get bright red and even tiger-stripe. However all the young kids use wireless earbuds to play music all day. Just because you have a thing in your ear doesn’t mean you are deaf, you may be hip.

Get the aid-shape which works for you. I don’t like things IN my ear so I got BTE thin-tube. If I were more deaf, thick-tube or RIC might be better. If I were way more active, an ITE could fall off, then an in-ear might be better.

If you want to try “obvious”, the new BOSE (and copyists) hangs around your neck. But if I hadn’t seen it here, I would not know it had aspirations of being a deaf-aid (it is a streamer and a ‘hearing assistant’).

The universal “HEY! Speak Up!” sign is a hearing horn.

My only thought is that the custom aids make more money for the Audi.

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I am not going to mention that to my wife; she already thinks my fluctuating hearing is a conspiracy of the audiological community…I am pretty sure she’s joking but… :smile:

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There are CLEARLY plenty of peolple in the world even on this enthusiast forum for whom appearance is the #2 if not #1 consideration based on some of the posts I have read. Maybe the outside world doesn’t care but some people are so hopelessly indoctrinated into the system that they will fight to protect it (see what I did there?) :sunglasses:

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Yes, too much power, tamped down, can be a bad thing… Circuit noise is a thing.


Agree entirely with what you say! If I tell people I’m really very hard of hearing, they smile and say, “That’s okay”. Since I started telling them to speak slower and sep par ate the words, I’m communicating much better. All that’s when speaking English. You mention Asian people… I spend some time in Thailand and their culture is different to ours. It’s considered bad manners to talk loudly, so they speak really quietly, especially in the bank. I can speak Thai quite well, so when I speak to them in Thai and they answer me very quietly, I ask them to repeat it louder. They repeat it just as quietly, and when I still don’t understand, they smile and very helpfully repeat it, just as quietly in very heavily accented English. Then I’m completely lost! :wink: The joys of not hearing well :slight_smile:


There is a thread here on Hearing Tracker about the majority of people we encounter NOT noticing our HAs. In over a year, I have one of thousands of encounters notice mine, since they are an HA wearer as well. Even friends who I told about them when I got them say, “oh, you have hearing aids?” when the topic comes up.

As soon as I am in a situation where hearing is difficult, I state that I have hearing loss, please face me to speak and be clear. It works.

There is some stigma against HAs. I live in a senior apartment complex., and those I have gotten to know need them, but they are highly resistant “my hearing is fine!” For others, they are afraid that if friends have them, they need them too, but are in full denial. I know 4 people who have them are embarrassed to wear them. Sheesh!!

I really, really wanted mine. Function is #1, appearance closer to #100 on my HA priority list. :grinning:

  1. I have several “buttons” that say things like the one mentioned above about facing me!! I ALWAYS wear one when travelling.
  2. I find it so funny that people do not think it is a problem to wear a LARGE bluetooth ear piece, but freak out over a small hearing aid!
  3. My RIC aids are BRIGHT RED (so that I can FIND them if I set them down somewhere) and I wear my hair VERY short - - and until I say something or point them out, no one seems to know I wear hearing aids!
  4. I think making the PUBLIC aware of how important lip reading is to EVERYONE is a huge issue.
    5 MY biggest issue is with Architects. WHY are all public buildings designed to make hearing WORSE. So MUCH could be done with including soft surfaces and paying attention to things that reflect sound but instead it seems that they architecture community WANTS to make things as noisy as possible.

If you wear HA’s, and people notice them, they think you can hear because you are wearing them!


I agree with that too many people unfortunately believe that hearing aids can do for hearing what glasses do for seeing. I just doesn’t work that way does it.


I stumbled on to an interesting but a little dated (2012) article. It basically makes the argument that higher powered receivers used at lower powers are not any noisier than low power receivers used at low powers. I may be over simplifying it a bit. But essentially the article is saying the increased noise only results when the higher power receiver is used at that higher power.

Are Larger Hearing Aid Receivers Really Noisier?

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I used to worry about the BTE when I was teaching high school girls. I didn’t want anything that they could notice but it became obvious with the number of times I asked them to repeat themselves that I finally came clean. And they were good after that.

I have those buttons too but am not a button guy. When I get into a conversation with someone who doesn’t know me, like at a retail counter, and they are talking at the cash register or mumbling, I say excuse me and pull at my HA wire that hangs over my ear. It gets their attention and maybe reminds them that they should always talk facing someone whether they have hearing loss or not.


Power and Gain are two different things.

They are nearly unrelated.

(Guitarists never get this either.)

While in the 1940s, the things we did for Power also affected Gain and Noise, today the front-end (where Noise is Gained-up) is all the same. The “Power” model has a bigger final stage, a high-strung receiver, and generally more battery. The hi-strung receiver actually needs less front-end gain to make the same level in the ear; but can reach higher levels in the ear to overcome inner-ear losses.