These are *main* hearing devices out there people know/talk/read about and are used by those who have hearing loss and may benefit:
Hearing Aids – probably the most commonly used hearing device, it basically amplifies sounds so that some people with atypical hearing anatomy can hear them. There are several styles: over the ear (with a mold), in the ear, and completely in the canal. They are best obtained by a hearing aid professional or audiologist who will decide what type is best and will customize it for you and your hearing loss. Can be used with mild to profound hearing losses. In the US, hearing aids are not usually covered by insurance. Click here to learn about free and low cost hearing aid programs.
Cochlear Implants – these bypass damaged ear structures to directly stimulate the auditory nerve. Sound is then sent directly to the brain to process. Surgery and either an over the ear or a body worn processor is required to use. Insurance may cover some of the costs. Candidates usually have severe to profound hearing losses.
Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (or “BAHA”) – primarily for middle ear, conductive hearing losses or unilateral (single-sided) hearing loss. Surgery is required and an abutment/device worn. Insurance may cover some of the costs.
Middle Ear Implants – an alternative to traditional hearing aids and bone anchored hearing aids (“BAHAs”) for those who may have ear canal issues or be unable to use the abutment in the BAHA. Insurance generally does not cover.
Auditory Brainstem Implant (“ABIs”) – for those with vestibular schwannomas (tumors on the balance nerves – tumor removal necessitates severing the auditory nerve) caused by NF2, the absence of or damage to the cochlear nerve. Insurance may cover some of the cost.