Are you a teen suffering from hearing loss? Are you looking for the best-in-class hearing aids to improve your hearing ability? Look no further! We have curated a list of hearing aids for teenagers in this article.
Generally, we think hearing loss is a common condition among adults or seniors. Yes, it is true. Though hearing loss is prevalent among adults and seniors, it has also become common in teenagers and children. Hence, an individual of any age can get affected by hearing impairment.
Fortunately, hearing aids serve as a boon, improving hearing ability. They are electronic devices amplifying and transmitting the surrounding sounds to a wearer’s ear. The most frequent causes of hearing loss in teens are hereditary conditions, a result of a disease, or environmental factors. Irrespective of the cause of hearing loss, hearing aids, also known as auditory aids, assist individuals in listening to sounds clearly and taking part in communications without any hesitation.
Luckily, teenagers do not have to compromise with the design and options of hearing aids. With plenty of options available at hand, it may be confusing to choose the best one. Don’t worry! We have mentioned some of the best hearing aids for teenagers in this article.
Let us explore!
Hearing Loss in Teenagers
According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, 3 out of every 1000 children are born with detectable hearing impairment, either in one or both ears. Additionally, 15% of school-going children (5 to 19) suffer from some degree of hearing loss.
Furthermore, around 12.5% of children aged 6 to 19 have permanent damage to their hearing ability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The following are some typical causes of hearing loss in teenagers:
- Exposure to Loud Noises: When exposed to loud noises for a long time, such as loud music at concerts or other events and high-volume sounds through headphones, one can experience noise-induced hearing loss.
- Ear Infections: When ear infections, like otitis media or meningitis, are left untreated, they result in hearing loss.
- Genetic Factors: There are strong chances that teenagers and children can inherit hearing loss from their parents.
- Medications: Medications like antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs may have adverse effects on hearing ability.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Often abbreviated as SNHL, sensorineural hearing loss is among the types of permanent hearing loss. It takes place after damage to the inner ear. An ear generally consists of three parts – the outer, middle, and inner ear. It refers to issues associated with the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain.
SNHL varies from mild to severe hearing loss, as follows:
- Mild SNHL: Hearing loss between 26 to 40 decibels.
- Moderate SNHL: Hearing loss between 41 to 55 decibels.
- Severe SNHL: Hearing loss of more than 71 decibels.
A person with moderate to severe SNHL finds it hard to listen to soft sounds; even louder sounds may be unclear. In many cases, even medications and surgery do not help. However, hearing aids assist in listening to sounds clearly.
The following are some common causes of sensorineural hearing loss:
- Exposure to loud noises
- Acoustic trauma
- Ototoxic medications
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Among Teenagers
Abbreviated as NIHL, noise-induced hearing loss occurs due to prolonged exposure to loud noises. Hearing sounds greater than 85 decibels for an extended period of time results in NIHL and even permanent hearing loss.
As teenagers are more inclined to use headphones all the time or attend loud-music concerts and parties, noise-induced hearing loss is common among teenagers. It can damage the hearing ability of either a single ear or both and can be permanent or temporary.
When exposed to chronic loud noises, an organ within the inner ear called the cochlea gets affected. Loud noises damage the cells and membranes of the cochlea.
According to the reports of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12.8 to 17.5% of teens aged 12 to 19 suffer from hearing loss due to exposure to loud sounds.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association states that the level of hearing should not go beyond 70 decibels.
How Do I Choose Hearing Aids for Teenagers?
With a plethora of options available, it is overwhelming to choose the best hearing aids for teenagers. While teens are more concerned about aesthetics, they should not miss out on functionality. Hence, both aesthetics and functionality play a vital role in choosing hearing aids for teenagers.
The following are certain factors that teens must consider while selecting hearing aids:
Guidance from Hearing Healthcare Professionals
Consulting an audiology professional will help teenagers get a clear idea of the degree of hearing loss they suffer from. Based on that, the audiologist can suggest some of the best hearing aid options, in addition to concerning an individual’s lifestyle and preferences.
Style and Design
Auditory aids are available in multiple styles, such as behind-the-ear (BTE), in-the-ear (ITE), etc. (The following section explains the hearing aid styles in detail). Teenagers usually prefer virtually invisible hearing aids that are comfortable and discreet. Modern Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) are popular hearing aid options for teenagers.
Delivery and Fitting
The conventional process for selecting hearing aids might be time-consuming. Teenagers can now get hearing aids online and have them delivered to their doorsteps, thanks to technology.
One can find a plethora of websites offering online tests and delivering custom-fit hearing aids based on the test results. More intriguingly, remote consultations via video chats and programming hearing aids through the Internet are feasible. This is the most convenient method for young adults.
Besides style and design, young adults expect modern features, such as Bluetooth streaming, rechargeable batteries, and a dedicated smartphone app to have control over hearing aids.
Bluetooth connectivity enables individuals to connect auditory aids with their smartphones. Streaming capabilities eliminates the need to use additional streaming devices. Additionally, hearing aids must support streaming to and from smartphones running on major operating systems, such as Android and iOS. It should also support hands-free calling.
In a nutshell, hearing aids for teenagers should include features like rechargeability, direct streaming, hands-free calling, extended battery life, and discreteness.
Performance in Different Environments
Teenagers spend most of their time in noisy environments, such as school, college, concerts, and other social events. As a result, hearing aids for teenagers should adapt to different environments and offer the best-in-class speech clarity.
Maintenance and Durability
It is advisable to choose auditory aids resistant to moisture and impact. They should operate well for a long time period.
Hearing aids should be easy to use and handle by teenagers. For instance, a dedicated smartphone app makes it easy to control different settings of auditory aids.
Ongoing support is the most significant and must not be overlooked. Ensure to have regular meetings with the hearing healthcare professional, follow-ups, and adjustments to hearing aids to retain them intact.
What Are the Styles of Hearing Aids for Teenagers?
Regardless of the style of auditory aids, all share the same working principle. They amplify the sound and enable a wearer to improve hearing and speech comprehension.
Every hearing aid has the following three basic components:
- Microphone: It receives sounds and turns them into electrical signals.
- Amplifier: It receives electrical signals and amplifies them.
- Speaker: Also referred to as a receiver, a speaker receives amplified sounds.
Different styles of hearing aids for teenagers are accessible today. The following are the most popular styles of hearing aids among teenagers, with their pros and cons.
As the name indicates, behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids rest behind and on top of the outer ear. They have a custom earmold that fits inside the ear canal. A thin, small tube connects the hearing aid sitting behind the ear to the earmold inside the ear canal.
This style of hearing aid is suitable for all degrees of hearing loss, from mild to severe. Hearing healthcare professionals generally recommend BTE-style hearing aids for young children.
- Suitable for all degrees of hearing loss.
- The custom-fit earmold can be replaced separately.
- Feature rechargeable batteries that are long-lasting.
- Easier to handle than other styles.
- More noticeable.
- Pick up the surrounding noise and feedback.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids fit completely inside the ear canal. They are further available in different styles – invisible-in-canal, completely-in-canal, and in-the-canal (ITC). Adults and teenagers can opt for ITE hearing aids if they are suffering from mild to severe hearing loss.
- Discreet design.
- They have longer battery life and are available in rechargeable batteries.
- Feature directional microphones and telecoils for improved performance.
- Susceptible to ear wax and moisture damage.
Canal-style hearing aids are the types of in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids that fit completely inside the ear. In-the-canal (ITC) and completely-in-canal (CIC) are the two types of canal-style hearing aids.
ITC hearing aids are a bit larger than CIC. Hence, they have longer battery life and serve a wide range of hearing loss.
- Virtually invisible to the naked eye.
- Easier connectivity with smartphones.
- Discreet design.
- Susceptible to ear wax and moisture damage.
- Wearers feel plugged up.
- The small size makes them hard to handle.
Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) or Receiver-in-the-Ear (RITE)
RIC or RITE is the most popular hearing aid style among teenagers and adults. The open-fit style is something that makes it the most preferred one. The main body of the hearing aid does not hold the speaker; instead, the insertable earmold or ear dome holds it. However, the main body features a microphone and processor. A thin tube connects the ear dome and the main body of a hearing aid.
- Less noticeable than other styles.
- Very few feedback issues compared to other BTE styles.
- Feature rechargeable batteries.
- Speakers can be replaced separately.
- Small sizes are challenging to handle for people with dexterity.
- Not suitable for people with profound hearing loss.
From the above styles, behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are ideal and best fit for young children. On the other hand, teens and adults have more options to explore. Behind-the-ear (BTE), in-the-ear (ITE), in-the-canal (ITC), and completely-in-canal (CIC) are available styles of hearing aids for teenagers and adults.
Best Hearing Aid for Teenagers – Explore Top Options
Let us now shed some light on several of the best hearing aids for teenagers currently available.
Oticon Opn Play is among the best hearing aid options for teenagers and children. Its OpenSound Navigator technology helps wearers differentiate between intended speech and noisy sounds. The 360-degree access feature allows wearers to hear sounds from all directions.
These hearing aids are available in four styles, ideal for different degrees of hearing loss, from mild to severe. They include the conventional BTE PP style, the small and discreet miniRITE or miniRITE T (telecoil) styles, the new miniRITE R, and the cutting-edge rechargeable lithium-ion style in a discreet design.
Oticon Opn Play is available in a range of 12 colors and is dust and water-resistant. Additionally, it comes with advanced features, including a range of classroom connectivity options and a dedicated smartphone app.
Hearing aids from Jabra Enhance are nearly invisible and powered by state-of-the-art technology. They are high-quality hearing devices providing natural sounds from all directions.
Jabra Enhance hearing aids are available in three different versions – Enhance Select 200, Enhance Select 100, and Enhance Select 50. The most advanced option filled with modern features is Enhance Select 200.
Enhance Select 200 devices are rechargeable and available in 5 colors. They have a sleek, modern, and discreet design for a better fit. Smart microphones reduce noise and improve speech clarity to a greater extent.
Besides, these hearing devices are Bluetooth-enabled and offer full streaming capabilities and hands-free calling. You can also expect round-the-clock customer and technical support.
OMNIA is ReSound’s flagship product, manufactured and released in August 2022. It is best known for noise management, providing wearers with a more comfortable experience.
ReSound claims that OMNIA offers 150% more improvement in background noise compared to its previous lines of hearing aids.
The OMNIA line of auditory aids from ReSound is available in the behind-the-ear (BTE) style. OMNIA 5, OMNIA 7, and OMNIA 9 are three different versions available in 3 colors.
OMNIA hearing devices are rechargeable and last longer than 30 hours. They support Bluetooth streaming on Android and iOS mobile phones and hands-free calling on iPhones and iPads. In addition, you get a dedicated app to control your hearing aids in different environments.
Some other best hearing aids for teenagers include Starkey Genesis AI Custom, Eargo, Signia AX, Phonak Lumity, and Signia Charge&Go AX.
The Best Hearing Aids for Teenagers Takeaway
Hearing aids play a vital role in solving the issue of hearing impairment. As hearing loss has become prevalent, even in young adults and children, the use of hearing aids has increased exponentially.
Before choosing hearing aids, it is always better to undergo a test online or by visiting a clinic to determine the degree of hearing loss. Select hearing aids based on the test findings and under the guidance of a hearing healthcare professional.
Ideal modern hearing aids for teenagers should feature rechargeability, direct streaming, hands-free calling, long battery life, and discreet design. Last but not the least factor to consider is the budget.
Florida License: AS-2471 – NPI: 1992749147
Ivonne Baixeras is a Florida-Licensed Hearing Instrument Specialist with a track record of almost three decades treating hearing problems in Miami-Dade County and serving the needs of thousands of satisfied patients. Ivonne is a graduate of both Miami-Dade College & Florida International University and worked for many years at the largest national chain of hearing clinics in the US where she's received multiple awards.