What are hearing aids?
Hearing aids are small devices that can be worn in or behind your ears. It amplifies some sounds in order to let the user listen, communicate, and participate in daily life. A hearing aid allows users to hear more clearly in noisy and quiet environments.
How do hearing aids work?
There are four basic parts to a hearing aid: the microphone, amplifier, speaker/receiver, and a power supply (batteries). Microphones are known as transducers, which indicates that they convert energy in one form to another form. A hearing aid harnesses sound through the microphone. It then converts sound waves into electrical signals and delivers them to the amplifier. The amplifier strengthens the power of the signals, gathers them, converts them back into acoustic energy (sound), and transfers them to the ear by using a receiver.
How are hearing aids beneficial to you?
The main job of hearing aids is to enhance hearing and speech comprehension in those who have hearing loss, as a result of damage to the sensory cells (hair cells) located in the inner ear. This is known as sensorineural hearing loss. The damage is caused by aging, disease, injury from noise or some medications.
Hearing aids can amplify sound vibrations that enter the ear. The hair cells that are still in tact can sense the larger vibrations and translate them into neural signals that are transferred to the brain. The more damage there is to your hair cells, means that there is more severe hearing loss. As a result, the hearing aid needs to amplify more sound.
What are the different styles of hearing aids?
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are made of a hard plastic case that is placed behind the ear. It is attached to a plastic earmold that rests in the outer section of your ear. All of the electronic elements are encased in a compartment that rests behind your ear. Sound transfers from the hearing aid through the earmold, and directly into the ear. BTE hearing aids can be used by people of any age, whether they have mild or profound hearing loss.
There is a type of BTE hearing aid that is an open-fit hearing aid. These small, open-fit devices can fit completely behind the ear, with simply a narrow tube placed into the ear canal, allowing the canal to stay open. Open-fit hearing aids might be the best choice for anyone who has frequent earwax buildup. This type of hearing aid is less likely to become damaged by earwax. Also, some individuals might prefer wearing an open-fit hearing aid because their recognition of their own voice will not sound as though it is “plugged”.
Canal hearing aids rest inside the ear canal. They are made in two styles. The in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid is a customized device that is created to fit the exact shape and size of a person’s ear canal. A completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aid is almost completely hidden and rests in the wearer’s ear canal. Each of these types of hearing aids are worn by those who have mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
Due to the small size of these hearing aids, devices that rest in your ear canal may be challenging to adjust and to extract from the ear. Canal hearing aids have less room for batteries and other devices, like a telecoil. They are typically not recommended for young children or for those who have severe to profound hearing loss due to their small size which limits its power and volume.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid devices can be placed completely inside the outer ear canal. Those who use them have mild to severe hearing loss. There is a hard plastic case that houses the electronic elements of the device. Some of these ITE devices have additional features, like telecoils. A telecoil is a magnetic coil that lets users harness sound with the circuitry of the hearing aid, instead of through the microphone. This makes it easier for the user to hear conversations through the telephone. A telecoil can also help hearing aid wearers hear in public areas that installed sound systems, known as induction loop systems. These induction loop systems can be found in most airports, auditoriums, schools, and places of worship. ITE hearing aids are typically not used by children because as the ear grows, the casings need to be replaced.
Analog Hearing Aids vs. Digital Hearing Aids
Analog hearing aids translate sound waves into electrical signals, and then they are amplified. Analog, or adjustable hearing aid devices, are customized for each individual’s needs. The aid is programmed by its manufacturer. There are multiple programs or settings with analog hearing aids. They can be programmed with a computer, and then you may change the program depending on how loud or quiet the environment is.
Before the sounds are amplified, digital hearing aids will change sound waves into numerical codes. It’s similar to the binary code of a computer. The code has information about the pitch or loudness of a sound, and then the aid gets programmed to strengthen certain frequencies more than others. A digital circuitry allows a hearing instrument specialist to have more flexibility to adjust the device to a user’s personal needs and different environments. The hearing aids can be set up to concentrate on sounds emanating from a certain direction. Digital circuitry can be utilized in every kind of hearing aid.
What are the best hearing aids for me?
The best hearing aids for you depends on how severe your hearing loss is. If there is hearing loss in both ears, it is recommended that you use two hearing aids. Two hearing aids give your brain a more natural signal, allowing the user to better comprehend speech and determine where the sounds are originating from.
Talk to one of our hearing instrument specialists to determine which hearing aids are suitable for you and your lifestyle.
It’s important to note that a hearing aid will not give you back your normal hearing. With lots of practice, a hearing aid will be able to raise your awareness of surrounding sounds and their sources. It’s best to wear your hearing aids every day, so find one that is comfortable, convenient, and easy for you to use.
How do I adjust to my hearing aids?
It takes a lot of patience and time to adjust to your hearing aids. Don’t give up! Wearing them every day can help you adjust to them. It’s just like breaking in a new pair of shoes.
Familiarize yourself with your hearing aid’s features. Practice putting them on, removing them, cleaning them, knowing thwww.puresoundhearingaids.com/blog/adapting-to-hearing-aids-takes-timee difference between the left and right aid, and replacing your batteries or correctly placing them in your charger.
Find out how to test your hearing aids in different environments where you may have difficulty hearing. Learn how to adjust the volume and program the device to customize the sounds for you. Consult your hearing instrument specialist until you feel completely comfortable and content.
How do I know if I need hearing aids?
If you notice any changes in your ability to hear and believe hearing aids would be helpful, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation from one of our hearing instrument specialists.