While only 10 percent of adult hearing problems are medically or surgically treatable, the majority with hearing loss benefit from hearing aids and/or assistive listening devices.
Digital hearing aids are fitted with impressive options. Hearing aids use sound processing strategies to increase or decrease certain frequency sounds and provide more speech clarity in noisy situations. Hearing aids are able to adapt to harsh listening environments by automatically adjusting sounds to produce optimal hearing for the user and learn to adjust faster the next time the hearing aid user is in that situation again.
Advances in technology continue to enhance the quality of sound produced by hearing aids today. However, not every hearing loss is the same and not all hearing aids provide the same type of amplification. The prospective hearing aid user will be informed about the realistic benefit that a hearing aid may provide. A well fitted hearing aid will significantly improve an individual’s ability to communicate.
- Microphone: The external component of a hearing aid which picks up sounds occurring around the listener
- Amplifier: The internal component of a hearing aid that makes the sounds louder
- Receiver: The internal component of a hearing aid that acts as a mini loudspeaker and delivers the amplified sounds into the ear
- Batteries: All hearing aids are powered by a battery source
- Behind the Ear (BTE) – all parts of the hearing aid are contained in small plastic case that is positioned over the back of the ear. The case is connected by a clear plastic tube to an ear mold that fits in the patient’s ear. Sound travels from the hearing aid through the tube and ear mold into the person’s ear
- In the Ear (ITE) – all parts of the hearing aid are contained in a case that fits within the entire outer portion of the outer ear canal
- In the Canal (ITC or Canal) – all parts of the hearing aid are contained in a small case that fits in the ear canal and lower portion of the outer ear
- Completely in the Canal (CIC) – all parts of the hearing aid are housed in a case which fits completely in the ear canal
- Contralateral Routing of Signals (CROS) – An amplification system used for patients who have normal hearing in one ear but the other ear is “dead”, or unaidable. A microphone in a hearing aid case receives sound at the dead ear side and transmits it to a device that is worn on the good ear
- BIOCROS – An amplification system for patients with losses in both ears but with one ear unaidable. A microphone housed in a hearing aid is placed on the unaidable ear and transmits a signal from that side of the head to the audible ear, which amplifies the signal
- Bone Conduction Aids – An amplification device that stimulates the skull to provide sound when the inner ear canals do not exist or when, for medical reasons, ear molds cannot be used
If your initial experience with the aid is unsatisfactory, remember that you are learning new habits, or rather, relearning old habits in a new setting. Normal hearing persons are aware of background noises too, but have LEARNT to push them out of conscious awareness. As you learn to discriminate between noise and speech and to identify various background sounds, you also will be able to ignore extraneous noises just as persons with normal hearing do