Hearing Aids

Dr. Mills works continually to ensure that Carolina Hearing Doctors use a wide variety of hearing aids from many manufacturers. As a local and independent business we are not owned or affiliated with any particular manufacturer. This gives us, and you, enormous flexibility in selecting the most beneficial hearing aids for your particular problem.

Brands that we frequently use are ReSound, Unitron Hearing, Phonak, Starkey Hearing Aids, Siemens, Widex, Sonic Innovations, Oticon, and others. Dr. Mills can also obtain almost any other brand that you may be interested in using.

Click here for some Frequently Asked Questions about hearing aids.

When deciding about hearing aids we help you decide what technology and size works best for you. Below is a brief overview of these topics.


Innovations in electronics and hearing aid design have created a revolution in hearing aid function.  These improvements continue to make hearing aids more user friendly and allow them to offer more real-world benefits to improve your hearing clarity.

Analog hearing aids were the standard until the late 1990s. These circuits use electrical signals to produce sound but are quite outdated and offer only limited adjustment.

Digital hearing aids take the signal from the microphone and convert it into “bits” of data – (“0s” and “1s”) – numbers that can be manipulated by a tiny computer in the hearing aid. This bits are manipulated by algorithms (a set of instructions) to perform precise, complex actions to improve clarity. This process happens very rapidly, usually several million calculations per second, to manipulate sound in almost any way imaginable.  These complex calculations offer many variations of background noise management and reduction to create very precise, very flexible hearing aids.

These manipulations are simply not available with analog circuits.

Currently, 93% of hearing aids dispensed in America are digital. Occasionally there is a reason to use analog devices but almost everyone should use digital circuitry.

When advertisers promote hearing aids for extremely low prices like $350-$750 each, these are often older analog hearing aids. While these may offer improvement in volume they have limited ability to match your hearing needs.

Hearing Aid Styles – How They Look

There are many styles of hearing aids. Your selection of the most appropriate device for your needs depends on several factors such as (1) your degree of the hearing loss, (2) features necessary to meet your individual needs, (3) your manual dexterity, (4) cost factors, and (5) cosmetic concerns. The most common styles are listed below:

Open Fit: These small, mini behind-the-ear hearing aids that are the newest and most exciting devices today. A mini device is placed behind the ear, hidden from view, and a thin, clear tube is placed inside the ear canal. The canal is left open so normal sounds pass through unaffected and the hearing aid amplifies only those frequencies that are deficient. Initially meant for high frequency hearing loss only, recent developments have made it suitable for many more people.

BTE: Behind-The-Ear hearing aids are the largest hearing aids and offer benefits not found on other styles. The aid sits hidden behind-the-ear with a custom earmold that sits comfortably in the ear. These are the most flexible of all hearing aids and offer the greatest number of features. These features can reduce background noise, enhance clarity, enhance telephone clarity, and provide the greatest amount of amplification. Despite their number of features, these aids often cost the least amount.

ITC: In-The-Canal
aids fill inside the ear canal but do not extend into the bowl. These are the most popular size of all hearing aids. They require more dexterity to manipulate but can be easy to insert and remove. These do not offer the flexibility of sound and volume that ITE or BTE aids provide.

ITE: In-The-Ear aids fill the entire ear opening and are the most noticeable of all hearing aids. They are usually the least expensive but easiest to operate. This is often the best choice for someone needing an aid that is to insert and manipulate.

CIC: Completely-In-the-Canal aids are the tiniest hearing aids. They extend deep into the ear canal and are not visible from the front or even side. Due to their small size they can be difficult to manipulate and usually require a “removal string” to extract from the ear. These aids completely occlude the ear canal and often provide a strong sense of ear fullness. These aids often provide the least amount of amplification but cost the most money.

Click here for some Frequently Asked Questions about hearing aids.

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