Hearing Aids are a miracle wonder of the modern world when it comes to the available solutions for hearing damage. Many hear the word “hearing aid” and automatically correlate it to individuals of a senior age. With the consistent forward trend of technology, you’d be surprised to know there’s many people outside of our elders that wear them, you just may not be able to see them in their ears. There’s many various forms of hearing aids that are out there, and some are more inconspicuous than others. The following will go into what is available on the market, as well as how hearing aids actually work.
Behind the Ear (BTE) hearing aids are probably the most common form of hearing aid that you will see. It’s also usually the most inexpensive. The case that holds the battery, microphone, and controls the volume fits behind your ear. From there, there is a clear tube that runs from the case to an earmold that encompasses your entire outer ear. Another newer option is what’s called a “mini” BTE. Instead of the ear mold completely taking up your entire outer ear, the tube runs down into an open ended ear plug. This obviously allows it to be more hidden from plain view, but also allow the users to hear their own voices because nothing is been too plugged up.
In the Ear (ITE) hearing aids are what they sound like, a device that fits completely inside the outer ear. There are no tubes or wires with this form of hearing aid. All the controls, batteries, and microphone are contained inside the plug itself. You will see these more worn in adults, as children would need them constantly re-molded as their ears grow.
In the Canal (ITC) or Completely in the Canal (CIC) hearing aids have the smallest “footprint” compared to the aforementioned. They are placed exactly as their name states, either in the canal so that there’s still some part of it sticking out into middle ear, or so deep that there’s no trail of it viewable from the middle ear. Obviously with these two types of hearing aids, due to their size they may be difficult to get in or out as well as may lack advanced features that some other aids may have.
Regardless of the what you think you need, make sure that you go see a professional who will direct the correct course of action to take. You can think you may want a CIC, but the reality is you may actually need a ITE. Make sure to take the time to sit down with your audiologist and make sure you’re finding the best solution for you and your lifestyle.
How Does it all Work
There are a few but important parts that make up the features of a basic hearing aid. The first is the microphone, this is what obviously picks up the sound that’s around you and transmits it through the aid. A microchip is just as valuable and important too. This will allow the audiologist to add any tweaks or changes to your aid in order to bring the joy of full hearing back into your life. The amplifier goes hand in hand with the microchip as it helps boost the signals from the microphone. The receiver is the piece that actually releases the sound into your ear and therefore to your brain for you to hear. The last and most important piece is the battery. Without this, you wouldn’t be able to power the device itself. The size and longevity of the battery will directly correlate to the model of hearing aid you have.
Analog or digital technology is what’s currently used in the utilization of your hearing aid. Analog is rarely used anymore, especially with the advancements of today. How these originally worked, is they would be able to pick up sounds that needed to be amplified. If they did not, such as a roar of a motorcycle engine, then there was no need to boost it any further. On the other hand, digital technology is when audio aid technology really changed forever. With this, the internal processor automatically configures sound preferences to you based on pre-set settings that were made with your audiologist. The biggest addition is that it boosts and makes sounds more clear and easier to understand compared to when you normally wouldn’t be able to. Especially now with the common use of Bluetooth technology, some models you can even hook into your your smartphone, tablet or audio device all at the swipe of a button.
Hearing aids are a wonderful advancement in the realm of hearing loss. If you believe you may have suffered hearing damage or have partial deafness, be sure to seek out a professional to make sure that you do in fact have hearing issues or to fix the hearing damage you may have already. Your hearing is your responsibility, never forget how important it is.