Hearing aids are available in several styles. During the hearing aid consultation the style of hearing aid will be recommended based on the type and severity of your hearing loss, as well as your feelings regarding physical comfort and cosmetic appeal.
Completely in the Canal (CIC) hearing aids are the smallest of all the styles
available today. They fit completely into your ear canal and are virtually unnoticeable to other people. CIC hearing aids are the least powerful due to the small size. This style of hearing aid is appropriate for individuals having a mild to moderate hearing loss.
In the Canal (ITC)hearing aids are smaller than ITE styles, but larger than
CIC styles. They fill roughly half of your ear, whereas the ITE styles usually fill the entire ear. ITC styles are usually visible to other people if they are looking directly at your ear. They are large enough to offer features such as a directional microphone, volume control, program button, and telephone switch. This style is appropriate for individual having a mild to moderately-severe hearing loss.
In the Ear (ITE) hearing aids are the largest of the styles that fit in your ear.
They fill the entire ear. ITE hearing aids are more powerful than ITC or CIC styles. They are large enough to offer features such as a directional microphone, volume control, program button, and telephone switch. This style is appropriate for individuals having a mild to severe hearing loss.
Behind the Ear (BTE) hearing aids have a main shell section, an earmold
and a connecting tube. The main shell houses the circuitry and lies behind the ear.They are large enough to offer features such as a directional microphone, volume control, program button, and telephone switch. This style is
appropriate for individuals having a mild to profound hearing loss.
Open Fit BTE hearing aids offer the same features and style concept as
a standard BTE but with very thin tubing connecting the main shell and the ear piece. This style of hearing aid gives the Audiologist flexibility in choosing the type of earpiece option that would be most appropriate. Some open fit BTEs house the receiver in the tubing portion that enters the ear canal. This style is appropriate for individuals having a mild to severe hearing loss dependent upon the type of ear piece chosen.
Hearing aid technology has significantly improved over the past 10 years. Today’s advanced hearing aid technology provides convenience and ease of use, as well as improved speech understanding and comfort.
Digital Noise Reduction: The hearing aid is able to analyze the signal coming into the hearing aid and determine a speech signal versus noise. If the most dominate signal is considered noise, then the hearing aid will reduce the gain.
Adaptive Feedback Cancellation: Feedback has been troublesome for individuals in the past and can be embarrassing, as well as frustrating. In today’s hearing aid technology there is a fast acting automatic feature that detects the feedback and cancels it before it can be heard by the user, unless the feedback is due to a poor fitting device.
Directional Microphones: Directional microphones are used to reduce sounds from behind or to the side of the listener when a speech signal is present in front of the listener. More advanced hearing aids have automatic directional microphone modes. This means that the hearing aid will continuously search the listening environment for a speech signal and reduce the gain of noise. Not available in CIC hearing aids.
Digital Signal Processing: Digital signal processing has replaced the analog signal processing. Digital signal processing enables manufacturers to include more programming due to the reduced size needed. This type of processing analyzes all sounds and classifies incoming signal (speech vs noise vs music).
ASSISTIVE LISTENING & ALERTING DEVICES
An assistive listening or alerting device is any device that helps an individual function better in their daily communication situations. They can be used with or without hearing aids to overcome the negative effect of distance, background noise, poorly amplified telephones, or poor room acoustics.
Personal and Sound field FM Systems The personal FM system includes a transmitter microphone used by the speaker and a receiver used by the listener. The receiver transmits the sound to your hearing aid through a direct audio input or through a cord worn around your neck. Sound field FM systems have the same components as the personal FM system, but the receiver is used for all listeners within the area. In larger areas, the microphone and transmitter is built into the overall sound system. FM systems are useful in various situations such as in classrooms, restaurants, meeting, theaters, places of worship, and other large areas.
Induction Loop SystemsAn induction loop wire is installed into a facility and connects to a microphone used by the speaker. While the speaker is speaking a current is produced in the wire which creates an electromagnetic field in the room. When you switch your hearing aid to the telecoil setting, your hearing aid telecoil will pick up the electromagnetic signal.
Alerting Devices Alerting devices are used to help individuals become aware of a certain situation, some which may be an emergency. There are several devices available on the market for the telephone, TV, and alarming systems. Dependent upon the individuals need these devices may amplify sounds, flash a light, and/or vibrate.
HEARING LOSS PREVENTION
Hearing loss caused by prolonged or sudden noise exposure is called Noise-Induced hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is preventable. There are a few precautionary measure that can be taken to reduce the chances of noise-induced hearing loss. If there is a source of loud sounds walk away or avoid loud situations. Audiologists are encountering more and more teenagers entering their offices with hearing loss caused by loud levels set on their music players. Individuals need to remember to turn down the volume from their personal music players because the receiver is very close to the eardrum. Another step that can be taken is hearing protection devices. Custom ear plugs can be made by your Audiologist that fit your ear specifically. The type of hearing protection chosen depends on the environment and communication ability necessary.
Virginia Department of Death and Hard of Hearing http://www.vddhh.org/
How’s Your Hearing? Ask an Audiologist http://www.howsyourhearing.com/index.html