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What are open fit hearing aids?

By: Paul Harrison Updated: 9th June 2021 in: Latest News, Articles
What are open fit hearing aids?

Open Fit Digital Hearing Aids

What do open fit hearing aids look like?

Open fit hearing aids are simply the smaller or 'mini' behind-the-ear (BTE) and receiver-in-the-ear (RIC) hearing aid styles, which hide behind your outer ear seamlessly.  The sound is transmitted straight to the ear canal through a thin plastic tube that is attached to a tip that comfortably sits within your ear canal.

Open fit for hearing aids

The 'open' refers to the earpiece not fitting tightly inside your ear canal, unlike the older style BTE's, CIC's, ITC's and ITE models.  This type of earpiece is much smaller, softer and therefore more comfortable.  This style of hearing aid is more commonly successful with those who have mild to moderate hearing loss.

What are open fit hearing aids?

This type of hearing aid tip does not obstruct the ear canal like traditional hearing aids, giving you a more natural sound experience and an 'open' feeling.  The sound and air can still enter your ear as normal, whilst amplified sound from your hearing aid goes through the tip.

BTE digital hearing aids have had bad press for years, people can't shake off the 'brown banana' of devices gone by.  In reality, this particular style has developed and evolved over time and there are so many slimmer and more sophisticated BTE hearing aid designs available today.  Since the open fit hearing aids were introduced to the audiology industry and consumers, we believe that the number of behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids being sold has naturally increased.  A decades-long negative attitude towards this style of device has been reversed.

We believe this new renaissance of popularity is mainly due to consumers being impressed with the natural sound of the open fit hearing aid technology, as well as the style being more comfortable on the ear.

 Oticon OpnS hearing aids

Why are open fit hearing aids so popular?

In addition to this style of hearing aid being a more modern alternative, and therefore more cosmetically appealing - they are also more comfortable to wear all day, they are lighter, they remove complaints related to occlusion and also decrease feedback.

People also like that the fitting time is a lot quicker because your audiologist has no need to take impressions of your ears to create ear molds to suit you and your ear shape.  You could effectively walk away with your hearing aids on the day, rather than wait a week for your unique ear molds to arrive and then be fitted.

Open fit hearing aids NHS

Can you get open fit hearing aids on the NHS?  In short, yes you can get open fit hearing aids from your local audiology department.  The NHS offers a commendable service for those with hearing loss, but like with most styles the NHS provides, the choice and technology would be limited.

What are the benefits of open fit hearing aids?

  • They are aesthetically pleasing and are more subtle and the most discreet BTE hearing aids available in the industry.
  • They are more comfortable due to the soft dome that doesn't block your ear canal.  Therefore you don't get that 'plugged' feeling or any discomfort during your day of wear.
  • They are also quick to fit, due to the earmold not needing to be tailor-made.
  • Provides a natural sound experience due to its non-occluding profile - your soundscape freely enters your ear canal naturally.

Open fit vs closed fit hearing aids - What is the difference between open and closed hearing aid fittings? 

An open fitting means that the waves of sound get to your eardrum more naturally and because the hearing aids tip doesn't fill your entire ear canal - it is common that you will hear your louder soundscape more naturally too.  An open hearing aid design also gives your ear canal more ventilation.

On the other hand, a closed hearing aid fitting fills most of your ear canal with either an earpiece or an ITE hearing aid.  With this fitting, sound transmits to you directly to allow for a full range of hearing aid features.

 Oticon OpnS hearing aids

Open fit hearing aid reviews

Open fit hearing aids cost, open fit hearing aid brands and best open fit hearing aids

In my experience, our own patients have always loved the natural sound of the Oticon hearing aids range and below we discuss the main features of one of the top open fitting hearing aid ranges - Oticon OpnS.

Oticon open fit hearing aids - Oticon OpnS

So, what makes this open fit hearing aid range so special?  Well, it's all really down to Oticon's OpenSound Optimiser within this device, which challenges traditional technology with an advanced approach to feedback management.  The OpenSound Optimiser almost predestines feedback before it appears.  It analyses amplified sound roughly 56,000 times per second and it offers up to 6dB more gain in this open fitting design - without the common risk of feedback.  You'll also gain from improved speech understanding with no reduction in clarity or sound quality too.

And it's this speech and sound intelligibility that attracts consumers and the Oticon OpnS practically builds and improves on the Oticon Opn, an already successful design.  The improvement you see in the OpnS is mainly due to the combination of the OpenSound Navigator and OpenSound Optimiser - giving wearers a crisp and clear speech signal in challenging environments and with less listening effort.

 

Oticon OpnS Hearing Aid Range

Oticon OpnS 1 hearing aids  >>  View Now

Oticon OpnS 2  hearing aids  >>  View Now

Oticon OpnS 3  hearing aids  >>  View Now

 

 Want to know whether open fit hearing aids are right for you?

Call one of our audiologists for free on 0800 567 7621 to find out more about open fit hearing aids or other ranges on the current market.

 

 

Read Next:  Hearing Aid Styles

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Paul Harrison
Hearing Aid Advisor
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