Getting to Know Your Hearing Aids

Getting to Know Your Hearing Aids

In Hearing Aids by Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A

Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A
Latest posts by Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A (see all)

Hearing aid technology continues to progress at a rapid rate and each new model brings more innovation. The increased sophistication of today’s hearing aids allows us to benefit from their use by their advancements in the replication of sound frequencies.

The more advanced the technology, the closer it is to natural sound reproduction, the fuller the hearing experience we have to gain.

The range of features incorporated in modern hearing aids also allows us to tweak them to a higher level of specificity of our individual needs. This is crucial to our needs to adapt to the hearing aids as well as have them be programmed to our specific environments and nature of our hearing loss.

There are many options to choose from when deciding which hearing aids are best for you. An expert in hearing health, like an audiologist, will help you make an informed decision when the time comes, meanwhile the following is a general breakdown of the types and parts of hearing aids for you to familiarize yourself with.

Hearing aid styles:

  1. Behind-the-ear hearing aids (BTE)
  2. In-the-ear hearing aids (ITE)
  3. In-the-ear hearing aids (ITC)
  4. Completely in the ear hearing aids (CIC)

Hearing aid components:

  1. A microphone
  2. A computer
  3. An amplifier
  4. A speaker

The sounds from your environment are changed into electrical signals by the microphone. Then the signals are further converted to the specific requirements of the user by the computer. The strength of the signals is increased by the amplifier and converted by the speaker into acoustical sounds for us to better recognize.

Digital Technology

According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communicative Diseases (NDICD) funded research is going towards the “use of computer-aided technology to design and manufacture better hearing aids” and “also are seeking ways to improve sound transmission and to reduce noise interference, feedback, and the occlusion effect.”

The field of hearing aid technology is evolving every day to suit the specifications of our environment as well as the individual nature of our hearing loss. The advent of computers as a component within the hearing aid means we have control over the type of programming we need designed for our site-specific hearing environments.

Analog hearing aids are less expensive than digital hearing aids and known to be easier to use. Their capabilities are also more restricted.  One of the differences is that the analog aids transforms sound into electrical signals whereas digital aids change them into codes recognized by a computer. Analog aids can be programmed for different settings from a restaurant to a large sports arena.

The advantage that digital aids have is that they can be specifically programmed to translate the pitch or volume to specific needs of the user as well as the direction of the sounds themselves. The amount of information as well the technology inherent to digital hearing aids, gives the user a wider and more specific range of frequencies that can be specified to their needs and a variety of locations.

According to a Consumer Reports study: “53 percent of people who wear hearing aids said that rechargeable batteries were one of the most important features they looked for when purchasing a hearing aid. Smartphone capabilities or tinnitus masking was noted as most important by 43 percent, and 42 percent said automatic noise level adjustment was most important.”

The most important take-away from all the information provided above is that once you have had an assessment and diagnosis from our team at South Shore Hearing, we can help you evaluate what suits your diagnosis and incorporate the aids most effective for your treatment.

Be confident and be proactive

Choosing and wearing hearing aids no longer carries the stigma it once used to and if your hearing can benefit from their use you are actually in luck. A majority of people that have been diagnosed with hearing loss and have been recommended hearing aids wait years before they are actually fitted. There are almost 30 million people in the US that need to wear hearing aids but do not. If treated early, you can experience the significant benefits of hearing aids in your daily life.

South Shore Hearing Center

Give us a call at South Shore Hearing Center so that you can receive professional care for your hearing and a comprehensive approach to keep your hearing experience full and natural for a healthier you! If you have any doubts or any questions, we are a phone call away! We’re ready to make that appointment with you, so that you can get started on the road to maintaining a healthy hearing now and for the future.