Getting to Know Your Hearing Aids

Getting to Know Your Hearing Aids
Cyndi Connolly

Investing in quality hearing aids is life changing! Hearing aids are incredibly savvy devices that maximize hearing, transforming communication and daily life. Assessing  your options, though exciting, can also be overwhelming. Like most electronic devices, hearing aids have experienced significant innovation of the years. They aren’t the clunky and outdated instruments that people often assume them to be! 

There is such a wide range of options, styles, features, and technologies that are designed to fit into your life seamlessly. Your hearing healthcare provider will recommend effective options that meet your hearing needs. Additionally, it is helpful to expand your understanding of hearing aids so you know what to look for and can familiarize yourself with your device. 

How Do Hearing Aids Work?

Hearing aids are complex pieces of technology that absorb, amplify, and process sound. This provides ample hearing support, allowing people to hear with greater ease. But how does this work exactly? All hearing aids have shared components which work together to process sound. This includes:

  • Microphone: a small microphone picks up all of the soundwaves in the environment you are in. Sounds are processed then customized by a processing chip that is programmed to adjust sound to your specific needs.  
  • Amplifier: these soundwaves are sent to the amplifier which amplifies the sound that is then sent to the speaker.
  • Speaker: the speaker helps transmit sounds into the inner ear where they are translated into electrical signals that are then sent to the brain. 

The last component of hearing aid devices is the power source. All hearing aids are powered by disposable or rechargeable batteries. Though all hearing aids have these same components, there can be major differences depending on other features offered: noise management, feedback control, connectivity etc. 

Hearing Aid Types

There are several types, or styles, of hearing aids. Exploring these types can be confusing so it useful to know that the numerous types of hearing aids fall into two major categories: 

  • In the Ear (ITE): these tend to be smaller types of hearing aids that are worn in the ear. ITE styles are made by taking a custom mold of your ear to ensure a comfortable and precise fit.  ITE types include the following: 
  • Invisible in the canal (IIC) & Completely in the canal (CIC) – are the smallest and most discreet type hearing aids. An earpiece sits in the ear canal with IIC types worn furthest in the ear canal. 
  • In the ear canal (ITC): these styles involve the compartment holding the device pieces being worn in the bowl of the lower portion of the outer ear.
  • Behind the Ear (BTE): these hearing aids are worn behind or on top of the outer ear. BTE styles typically have a small tube or wire that connects the portion behind the ear to an ear piece that is worn in the ear canal. BTE styles including: 
  • Mini Behind the Ear (Mini BTE): this device involves a portion being worn behind the ear and a plastic tube that connects this piece to an earbud that is worn inside the ear canal. 
  • Receiver in the Ear Canal (RIC): this type of hearing aid features the speaker in the ear canal and a wire connecting it to the microphone and amplifier sitting behind the ear. 

The style of hearing aid that will work best for you depends on a few factors including: your specific type hearing loss, degree of impairment, and lifestyle preferences. Your hearing healthcare provider will use this comprehensive information to make recommendations of hearing aids that will meet your hearing needs!

More About Digital Hearing Aids 

Advancements in technology have produced innovative hearing aids that have greater capacity to perform multiple functions. Enhancements in digital processing have made it possible for hearing aids to automatically adjust the sounds absorbed to meet an individual’s specific hearing needs. These settings are programmed by your hearing healthcare provider and are informed by the types of sounds you experience more difficulty hearing. This sharpens sound quality and allows people to hear clearly. 

Digital hearing aids also offer features like Bluetooth connectivity which allow hearing aids to wirelessly connect with other devices! Be sure to thoroughly discuss all of your options with us today. Contact us to schedule an appointment for a hearing test and consultation.