Which of the Different Types of Hearing Aids is for You?

Home Hearing Aids Different Types of Hearing Aids

We are in an age when hearing aid technology is making rapid strides.

Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) is a common problem among the elderly. As noise pollution levels set new records, hearing loss issues too will escalate. New stylistic instruments with better functionality and miniaturization will flood the market. While the devices with personalized features improve the individual's hearing experience significantly, they also make the task of selection more challenging.

There is a variety of hearing aid devices to suit individual preferences. Traditional ones fit behind the ear, while the invisible aids remain comfortably in the ear canal. Custom-molded hearing aids are placed in the ear. Many devices are now available that to cater to special hearing needs.

These devices connect to your iPhone or assistive aids to receive phone calls or music wirelessly.As these aids amplify sounds, they make your hearing better. However, they cannot restore your hearing or retrieve your hearing loss.

About Digital Hearing Aids

Today most of these devices are digital with small microphones that collect sounds from the surroundings. A tiny computer chip fitted with an amplifier transforms sound into a digital code.The versatile chip performs various functions such as analyzing and adjusting the sound in sync with your hearing loss, the level of noise around, and your listening needs.

The amplified signals are transformed again into sound waves, which are then delivered through speakers to your ear. Hearing aids come in a range of sizes, price tags, as well as special features, and your choice of a device will depend on your lifestyle and hearing requirements.

Some opt for basic hearing aids, while others prefer something a little stylish. Dr. Schade is the best guide to help you select a suitable device for your needs. You can call Hearing Aid Doctor for any information you need regarding the types of devices available and which one would be best suited to your needs.

Types of Modern Hearing Aids

The digital era has made a significant impact on how hearing devices function, look and feel. They are very small in size and are more or less invisible. The sound heard through the electronic device is so natural that you forget about your hearing loss problem. Most of these modern devices look very stylish too.

Some features account for the popularity of digital hearing aids. The amplifier in these devices is like a smart, powerful small computer that enables many more features. The sound quality of the device is so amazingthat you will feel proud of your choice for trying a pair to improve your hearing. The device is hardly noticeable when you wear it because of its size. No wonder, most of the hearing aids sold today are digital.

Why Are Digital Hearing Aids So Unique?

Advances in digital technology have hugely improved the lives of people suffering from hearing loss. It has brought forth an array of digital aids with fantastic functionality, look, and feel. Many aspects make these devices game-changers, such as:

  • The size of these devices has shrunk to the extent of them being invisible. In looks, they can pass as a fashion accessory.
  • The processing is so impressive that the sounds you hear resemble those you could listen to before hearing loss occurred.
  • These devices distinguish between soft and loud sounds and act accordingly. If the digital chip is more advanced, it will have more bands to fine-tune the sound.
  • Some hearing aids have features that reduce harsh environmental sounds they attract, such as vehicles moving past, etc.
  • You can choose a device from several options that are available, such as Economy, Basic, Advanced, and Best. These options indicate the technology level and the features with different digital hearing solutions associated with the level of hearing loss, budget, and preferences.

Features of Digital Hearing Aids

  • Dual Microphones– These devices enable us to improve hearing when there is a lot of noise around. Some have features that identify the source of noise and also lower it.
  • Open Technology– Here, the ear canal is not completely closed, which helps to eliminate what is called “talking in a barrel” effect.
  • Feedback Cancellation– It removes the feedback before hearing it as a kind of whistling sound.
  • Hands-Free Technology– It has an automatic adjustment mechanism for the listening environment, such as talking on a phone, being in a crowd, or a windy area.
  • Customization– This enables programming your hearing aid with a computer to suit individual requirements.
  • Wireless technology- You get direct access through your hearing device to the TV, cell phone, home phone, etc.

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About Analog/Conventional Hearing Aids

Traditional analog hearing aids amplify the sound and have manual fine-tuning as well as a manual volume control.They work like a microphone connected to a speaker. These devices step up the sound precisely to the level of the original sound, but in relatively quiet surroundings. So they work better in situations like one-to-one-conversation or listening to TV. This technology has limited flexibility to cater to individual needs.

Wireless Hearing Aids

When paired with smartphones and other similar handheld instruments, wireless hearing aids can establish a direct and wireless connection to the desired sound source like your TV.

This technology dampens the distracting noises. It picks up only the sound you want to hear. You do not need to increase the volume of the TV or talk loudly on the cellphone.You can enjoy your favorite music quietly without the cacophony of other sounds. This is possible because wireless technology enables you to avoid the noise clutter and tune into the sound source of your choice.

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BTE / Behind the Ear Hearing Aids

People of any age and with varying degrees of hearing loss can use BTE. It's because these devices are designed to make some sounds louder, boosting your ear's capacity to hear. This instrument is housed in a hard plastic casing, fits discreetly behind the ear, and gets covered by your hair. The customized ear-mold perfectly matches the contours of your ear canal. They are styled in a variety of shapes and colors like clear, tan, and pink. These seem to be the favored colors as they reduce the visibility of the BTE. This hearing aid offers several programming features and alternatives to improve customization and meet individual hearing needs. Today's modern BTEs are smaller, versatile, and adjustable to any hearing loss.

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ITE / In the Ear Hearing Aids

Those with hearing loss ranging from mild to severe find ITEs more useful. Disabled and dexterity challenged people need custom-designed hearing devices, and ITEs match their requirements. Theunique feature is their mold, which covers the contours of their outer ear. The hard plastic case fits snugly too because it is shaped in the same mold.</p> <p>Another style of ITE only fills the lower part of the ear and does an equally good job of making the sound louder. Its design has the flexibility to add features. For example, you can add a telecoil, which makes telephonic conversation easier and hassle-free. It is also possible to add automatic programming and ear to ear communication. Different colors like brown, pink, cocoa, and beige are available to match the skin tone of the user.

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Receiver in the Ear (RITE)/ RIC / Receiver in Canal Hearing Aids

RIC and RITE devices are also for people with hearing loss ranging from mild to severe. We can provide these instruments, and they work perfectly for active adults. These devices incorporate directional microphone technology, which detects and amplifies the target speech signal and reduces background noise. This function makes it easy for the user to understand the conversations and communicate even in a crowded environment. The instrument is small and not easily visible once the user wears it.</p> <p>People using these devices are comfortable while attending social events, business meetings, and parties. Hardly anyone notices that they are wearing a hearing aid because the small hard plastic mold remains behind the ear or hidden by hair. There is an ultra-thin wire that picks up sound and passes it directly into an invisible speaker fit into the ear canal or in the ear.</p> <p>RIC hearing devices can have programming features such as volume or programming controls, telecoils, alert signals, and automatic programming. Technological advancement has helped bring to market accessories that make RIC compatible with Bluetooth. They can then connect the hearing aid to the user's car, phone, or even an iPad.

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CIC / Completely in the Canal and ITC / In the Canal Hearing Aids

We have even the smallest ITC and CIC hearing aids for people with mild to modest hearing loss. These instruments are not visible when you wear them. When fitted entirely or partly in the ear canal, they amplify the sound. The plastic casing of the ITC is tiny, and its length ranges from 1 to 3 cm. The CIC instruments are so small that they fit close to the eardrum and are invisible because they sit deep in the ear canal. They come with standard features and can have a wireless function.

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Extended Wear Hearing Aids

People with mild to modest hearing loss can use these hearing devices. They are not only invisible but maintenance-free as well. Their styling is a unique combination of the concealment feature provided by in the canal hearing aid instrument and the convenience of extended wear. It has the advantage of optimal sound and reduced distortion and background noise. You can continue using them at any time of day and night without removing them for months on end. You are not required to change or charge the batteries.

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Open Fit Hearing Aids

This instrument is recommended for hearing loss ranging from mild to moderate and is styled like the BTE hearing aid with a thin tube. While it is invisible from outside, it does not block the ear canal. It provides a natural hearing experience because the ear canal remains open for low-frequency sound to enter naturally and get amplified. The other advantage is that it does not require an earmold.

Additional Hearing Aid Features

The Hearing Aid Doctor often recommend instruments that have special programming features that facilitate communication. These features include directional microphones, ear to ear communication, noise management programs, wireless Bluetooth, telecoil, function controls, automatic adjustments, and music programs. You can discuss with Dr.Schade, the features that suit you the best to improve your listening experience.

Are Assisted Listening Devices Right for You?

People with specific hearing needs have access to a variety of assistive listening devices that fall into the following categories.  
  • Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) that function as amplifiers for the sound you choose to hear. This aspect is essential, especially where a lot of background noise distorts hearing. You can use them with a cochlear implant or with a hearing aid to improve the clarity of particular sounds.
 
  • People with problems such as communication disorders find it difficult to express themselves. Augmentative and Alternative Communication devices (AACs) like a computer program or a simple picture board are useful for them because they synthesize speech from text.
 
  • Alerting devices connect to instruments like an alarm, doorbell, or telephone and emit a signal such as a blinking light or a loud sound. They alert individuals with hearing loss about the occurrence of an event.

How ALD's Work

ALDs capture a sound right at its source through the use of a microphone and amplify it wirelessly. ALDs use a variety of broadcasting transmission methods that includeInfra-Red (IR), Frequency Modulation (FM), Induction Loop (IL), and others.

The amplified sound transmission range of FM systems that use radio signals is up to 300 feet. These systems are ideal for use in public places. For example, in a classroom, the instructor wears a small microphone, which is connected to a transmitter. The student wears a receiver to listen to the instructor. The receiver is tuned to a particular channel or frequency, which makes hearing possible.

In an IR system, the transmission of sound takes place through infrared light. While a signal passes through a wall in FM or IL systems, it does not do the same in case of an IR system. That is why they are used in settings with high privacy concerns, such as courtrooms. They are also used in classrooms and movie theatres to resolve the problem of competing signals. However, IR systems are not suited for use in strongly lit rooms or outdoors where competing light sources prevail.

Personal amplifiers are popular for various reasons. In some places, ALDs may not be available, or you may be traveling in a car, want to watch TV, or be outdoors. Whatever the reasons may be, the functionality of a cell phone-sized personal amplifier improves the listening experience by enhancing the sound level and reducing background noises. If you have a directional microphone, then angling it towards the origin of the sound or a speaker amplifies the sound. Like any ALD, the listener needs to wear a receiver such as earbuds or a headset to pick up the louder sound.

Get your perfect hearing aids in Dana Point, CA

Call The Hearing Aid Doctor at 949-281-8975 to determine if you could be helped by a hearing aid.

Hearing is a very personal experience, and in that sense, the ability to hear varies from person to person. That is why a hearing aid needs to be programmed, personalized, and fitted to suit individual needs. Dr. Schade, The Hearing Aid Doctor, is an essential intermediary to help you do that and experience better hearing with the instrument you buy.