If you are reading this, you’ve probably become the proud new owner of an advanced piece of technology, a hearing aid. With today’s fast-paced technology, hearing aids are built with so many different innovative styles and features. But, how do hearing aids work?
When it comes to treating hearing loss, your Lexie hearing aids are a powerful technological tool designed to create a simpler life for you. It’s essential to get to know them better, so let’s start with the basics.
Who manufactures hearing aids?
A variety of several hearing companies are responsible for the development and distribution of hearing aids. Commonly known manufacturers include Oticon, Starkey, Phonak, Widex, and Signia. Hearing loss can be complicated, especially when it comes to the spectrum of people it affects. That is why these companies are dedicated to producing quality hearing aids that meet the needs of a wide range of people with hearing loss. Hearing healthcare professionals are familiar with all kinds of hearing aids, their features and capabilities, their software, and their distribution. Depending on your healthcare plan and where you have your hearing test done, the degree of hearing loss, needs, abilities, budget, and preference of the person with a hearing loss may differ. With regard to the availability, cosmetic appearance, and the cost of hearing aids, a wide range of options is available to choose from.
What is a hearing aid?
It’s all in the name, hearing aid – your “ear assistant.” A hearing aid is a reasonably small electronic device that is designed and specially programmed to cater to different degrees of hearing loss. This device contains a microphone that picks up sound, an internal component, the amplifier, that modifies the sound, and a speaker that sends the signal to the ear. The hearing aid battery plays a vital role as it helps power-up the whole process. (Read “Five Tips to Take Care of Your Lexie Hearing Aids” to find out more about batteries). The general parts of a complete hearing aid include:
- Slim tube or earmold (right/left) – this part is attached to the hearing aid and fits into the ear. The sound travels through the tube into the ear.
- Battery door – which opens and closes to allow for battery charging, or in most modern hearing aids, allows for the hearing aid to be switched on and off.
- Volume control – helps you control the level of loudness. This can be an optional button.
- Program button – to help switch from one listening program to the next. This can be an optional button.
What are the different hearing aid types?
Hearing aids have a wide range of styles from practically invisible to filling the entire part of the outside of your ear. There are three main hearing aid styles:
- Behind-The-Ear (BTE): Suitable for people of all ages and degrees of hearing loss, this kind of hearing aid fits comfortably behind the ear. They are attached to a custom earpiece molded according to your unique ear shape and size or a slim tube and a dome that comes in a variety of lengths and sizes.
- In-The-Ear (ITE): These are custom-made to fit completely in the outer ear and are more suitable for certain degrees of hearing loss.
- In-The-Canal: These hearing aids are made to fit the size and shape of your ear canal. These hearing aids are dependent on the degree of hearing loss of the user and require good dexterity.
What is the technology behind hearing aids?
The latest hearing aids make use of wireless technology and telecoils. The function of telecoils is to pick up magnetic signals and process them as sound into your hearing aid. If you have two hearing aids on each ear, wireless technology helps them communicate with one another so that they work as one hearing system. Telecoils and wireless technology play an important role in making the necessary adjustments to sounds in your various listening environments.
How do hearing aids help you?
Hearing aids are specifically meant to help individuals who have hearing loss improve their hearing and communication in different social interactions. Remember, it’s all in the name – hearing aid – your “ear assistant.” Your “ear assistant” simply makes certain sounds louder so that you can understand conversations and communicate appropriately with others. Manufacturers have started developing more sophisticated devices that meet the demands of our ever-changing modern lives. Some hearing aids can connect to your phone, Bluetooth, and technological devices around your home (i.e., television, music speaker). Additional features may include programs designed for various listening environments such as restaurants, stadiums, and transportation. People present with different types of hearing loss, therefore hearing aids will differ from one person to the next.
- Remember that hearing aids will only amplify sound and NOT restore your hearing to “normal”. You may still experience communication difficulties, particularly in increasingly noisy situations.
- Hearing aids have an adjustment period; it takes time to get used to new hearing aids.
- Hearing aids improve the quality of life and connect you to the world you live in.
- Hearing aids SHOULD NOT BE SHARED as they are custom made and programmed to suit the hearing needs of a single individual.
- Your hearing healthcare professional, or Lexie hearing expert, is a vital asset helping you choose the right hearing aid for you.