Hearing Aid Overview
Hearing Aid Overview
Hearing aids of today are more than simply amplifiers of sound.
From a more natural sound to better speech understanding in crowds, they offer many innovative features to choose from that will help you to hear better in a variety of listening environments. Compared to analog hearing aids from days gone by, digital hearing aids are more similar to small computerized devices than amplifiers. There is less distortion than with previous hearing aids. The result is a sharper, more natural sound that will enable you to be an active participant in the conversations you care about.
Hearing Aid Styles
Many hearing aid styles are available and one or more models may be suggested depending on the severity of your hearing loss, lifestyle requirements, and budget, among other things.
IN-THE-EAR (ITE) HEARING AIDS
Completely In The Canal (CIC)
Completely In The Canal hearing aids (CIC) is a custom hearing instrument that is small and discreet. Although it is slightly larger than then the IIC it also sits deep into the canal making it hard to see. This style can provide more amplification than the smaller IIC style.
In The Canal (ITC) or Half Shell
In The Canal hearing aids (ITC) a custom instrument that sits in the ear canal. Being slightly larger than IIC or CIC styles, they can offer more controls and fit a wider range of hearing losses. They can also offer longer battery life than smaller options.
In The Ear (ITE) or Full Shell
These custom devices are larger than the ITC hearing aids. They fill the entire ‘bowl’ of the ear, this larger size means they often contain extra features and longer battery life. Together with the lightweight and compact size, these devices are simple to handle.
BEHIND-THE-EAR (BTE) HEARING AIDS
Receiver In The Canal (RIC)
This popular style is designed to reduce the echo or clogged feeling that some wearers can experience when wearing custom hearing aids. These devices sit on top of the ear, with a small receiver unit placed into the ear canal. They are very user-friendly, cosmetic, and fit a wide range of hearing losses. These are the most popular style and are recommended for people of all ages and hearing loss.
Behind The Ear (BTE)
With the BTE hearing aids, the processing power is located in the device that fits behind the ear. Sounds are picked up by the device and amplified, then pass through a tube where that amplification is directed into the ear canal. BTEs are sturdy, easy to handle, and easy to use. They are also likely to carry the greatest range of features and fit the largest range of hearing losses.
Hearing Aid Technology
Hearing aid technology is constantly improving. We've seen incredible changes that have had life-changing impacts for many of our patients. New technologies include Bluetooth connectivity, rechargeable batteries, improved speech in noise processing, moisture protection along with many additional improvements to sound quality and connectivity.
Bluetooth Hearing Aids
Bluetooth is a way to enable the exchange of signals without any wires between different electronic devices. It's a great way to connect one device to others around it. While this technology is not new in the hearing industry, you now have access to direct Bluetooth-connected hearing aids. This means you have the ability to connect directly with a multitude of other devices including your phone, TV, and music devices without the need for an extra device worn on the body. Most hearing aids have an option to download an application on your phone or tablet. Downloading the app allows you to control your volume and programs discreetly without having to touch the hearing aids themselves. Along with the app, the bluetooth capability gives the option for hands-free phone calls and streaming media such as music, audio, and TV. Visit us in Plattsburgh, NY to learn more about bluetooth hearing aids.
Many accessories are available with this newer technology that has Bluetooth capability available such as:
- TV Systems that allow you to stream the sound from your TV directly to your hearing aids. You can clearly listen to the television at a lower volume that is comfortable for others in the room.
- Remote Control allows you to control the volume and your programs without having to touch the hearing aids. With most newer hearing aids, remote controls can also be accessed from an app on your phone.
- Partner Mics are great for anyone that wants to make sure they don’t miss a word. They send conversation from the small device directly into your hearing aids. Want to hear everything your partner has to say? Put the partner mic on them to have a full conversation. Want to make sure you don’t miss anything at that important meeting or dinner? Put the partner mic in the middle of the table and make sure to hear every person around the table.
Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries/Chargers
As a nation, we purchase about 180 tons of batteries each year. Rechargeable batteries help reduce some of the waste caused by disposable batteries. As opposed to hearing aids with conventional disposable batteries, rechargeable hearing aids have integrated batteries that do not need to be removed regularly. By placing the hearing aids in a charging case every night, they will operate all day for the wearer.
The most recent development in battery technology for hearing aids is lithium-ion. These rechargeable hearing aids operate up to 24 hours on a single charge and the batteries last around 5 years before needing replacement. They are easier for people who have poor dexterity or just want the convenience of not having to change batteries every week.
Struggle to hear on a landline phone? Ask about CaptionCall. CaptionCall is an amplified phone that is hearing aid compatible and if a hearing loss is present, available to you for free. The CaptionCall system can be added in with your current phones. This phone translates the words that are spoken and displays them on a screen so that you don’t miss any of the conversation. It comes with a built-in answering machine so that you can listen to your messages and see the message written out for you.