The digital revolution has made a huge impact on the way hearing aids look and work. They can be so small that they are virtually invisible, or even so “cool” looking that you will want everyone to see them. They can also more accurately mimic the way you used to hear before you experienced hearing loss.
Digital Hearing Aid Features
- Dual microphones allow you to hear better in noisy situations. Some can even identify the source of the noise and reduce it!
- Open technology that keeps the ear canal unobstructed eliminates that “talking in a barrel” effect.
- Feedback cancellation does just that…It cancels feedback BEFORE you hear it as an annoying whistle.
- Hands free technology automatically adjusts to your listening environment…whether you are on the phone, in a crowd or in wind.
- Using a computer, your digital hearing aid can be programmed to meet your individualized needs.
There are so many options available to you! There are four technology levels…Economy, Basic, Advanced and Best. Each level offers digital hearing solutions based on your level of hearing loss, lifestyle and budget.
Are there different styles of hearing aids?
There are several basic styles of hearing aids. The styles differ by size, their placement on or inside the ear, and the degree to which they amplify sound.
- Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids consist of a hard plastic case worn behind the ear and connected to a plastic earmold that fits inside the outer ear. The electronic parts are held in the case behind the ear. Sound travels from the hearing aid through the earmold and into the ear. BTE aids are used by people of all ages for mild to profound hearing loss. The earmold may be custom made to the ear or non-custom depending on the degree of hearing loss. All levels of technology can fit into this style.
- Receiver in the canal, also referred to as a receiver in–the–ear, or “open-fit” instrument. Small, open–fit aids sit completely behind the ear, with only a narrow tube and earbud inserted into the ear canal, enabling the canal to remain open. In addition, some people may prefer the open–fit hearing aid because their perception of their voice does not sound “plugged up” and sounds more natural. All levels of technology can fit into this style including directional microphones.
- Custom aids are custom made to the shape of your ear. They come in different sizes based upon the amount of volume necessary for your level of hearing loss. All levels of technology are available in all sizes but some sizes may be limited in available features based on to the size of the ear.
- In the ear (ITE) hearing aids fit completely inside the outer ear and are used for mild to severe hearing loss. The case holding the electronic components is made of hard plastic.
- In the canal (ITC) hearing aids fit into the bowl of the ear and are used for mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
- Some ITE and ITC aids may have certain added features installed, such as a telecoil. A telecoil is a small magnetic coil that allows users to receive sound through the circuitry of the hearing aid, rather than through its microphone. This makes it easier to hear conversations over the telephone. A telecoil also helps people hear in public facilities that have installed special sound systems, called induction loop systems. Induction loop systems can be found in many churches, schools, airports, and auditoriums. Custom hearing aids are usually not worn by young children because the casings need to be replaced often as the ear grows.
- Completely–in–canal (CIC) hearing aids are nearly hidden in the ear canal. These are used for mild to moderately severe hearing loss. Because they are small, CIC aids may be difficult for a person to adjust and remove. In addition, they have less space available for batteries and additional devices, such as a telecoil and directional microphone. They usually are not recommended for young children or for people with severe to profound hearing loss because their reduced size limits their power and volume.
- Invisible in Canal (IIC), The smallest custom style, IIC instruments, sit invisibly in or past the second bend of the ear canal. IIC devices are specifically designed for mild-to-moderate hearing loss.