If you arrived at this article in hopes of understanding how hearing aids can help either you or a loved one you have taken a great step in the right direction. Even though hearing has such an important role in our quality of life, only 1 in 5 people who need a hearing aid uses one. Finding one that works well for you will greatly improve your ability to communicate with your friends and family, complete day-to-day tasks, and enhance your awareness to your surroundings. This is important not only to enjoy life but also for safety. Recognizing nearby dangers and alarms are important so you can take the precautionary and reactive responses needed to keep you from getting hurt. While hearing loss can be permanent, hearing aids can create a life where you forget that is the case.
How Do Hearing Aids Work?
Hearing aids are electronic machines that amplify the sounds of your surroundings into your ear so that you can hear them better. They are small and can be worn either in or around the ear depending on the make and model. With a variety of styles and conformations, there is sure to be one that is most comfortable to you so the key is to keep trying different models until you find one that you love. There are three essential parts to a hearing aid: (1) microphone, (2) amplifier, and (3) receiver. The microphone picks up the sounds and sends them to the amplifier which will make the sounds louder. Lastly, the receiver will send these sounds into your ear. Hearing aids are adjustable so you can control how loud you want the amplifier to go.
Types of Hearing Aids
As you can imagine, there are a variety of ways in which hearing can be compromised so there are a variety of types of hearing aids. However, there are two main categories - analog and digital.
Analog hearing aids are simpler with the ability to convert sound waves into electrical signals then amplifying them to create a louder sound for the user. The controls are minimalistic and serve basic needs.
Digital hearing aids are different in that they convert the sound waves into numerical code. This allows them to control and edit the sound more since numerical code allows the hearing aids to act like a computer. Digital hearing aids can process information such as the direction, pitch, and volume of the sound allowing it to automatically adjust the sounds for you to accommodate to the type of environment you are in. Being in a quiet library is very different from a cheering stadium so the digital hearing aids will account for that difference in sound type.
While hearing aids can function differently, they can also be worn differently. There are three main types of hearing aid placement - canal, in-the-ear (ITE), and behind-the-ear (BTE).
Canal hearing aids are smaller machines that are popular for those who enjoy a more discreet look to their hearing aids. Effective for mild to moderately severe hearing loss, it covers a wide span of needs. It can also be a daily aid that you would take on and off or can be left in for several months depending on the brand and style. There are three main subcategories: in-the-canal (ITC), completely-in-canal (CIC), and invisible-in-canal (IIC). ITC hearing aids is costumed to your own ear canal so it's a more comfortable fit. CIC are smaller and almost entirely hidden in your ear and offers a more subtle style. IIC takes it a step further and is completely hidden. Canal hearing aids offer discretion for those who don't want others seeing their hearing aids. By accomplishing this mission, they are typically very small so they might be tough to handle for the children and adults who have trouble with smaller devices.
ITE fits on the outside of the outer ear and work well for wild to severe hearing loss. However, because the fit outside of the ear, they are not idea for growing children.
BTE are encased in a plastic cover and sits behind your ear with an ear mold that fits the inside of the outer ear to direct sound in. Able to accommodate from mild to very severe hearing loss, BTE's are a popular choice. There are several subcategories one being the mini BTE. It fits completely behind the ear preventing earwax build up and allowing you to hear your own sounds clearer. Receiver-in-canal (RIC) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) are two styles that are made of two components: (1) a behind-the-ear part and (2) a receiver in the ear or ear canal. This design allows for low frequency sounds to enter the ear naturally while the device adjusts for high frequency sounds.
With so many choice to your disposal, it's good to consult an audiologist. The perfect hearing aid will take into consideration your age, degree of hearing loss, lifestyle, preference, and budget. With so many considerations, an important factor is patience through trial and error. At Nano Hearing Aids, you will have a full 45 days to try out your hearing aid. If you don't like it, you can return it!
How to Get One
If you haven't already, it's best to consult an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT) to assess your hearing loss so they can find out what caused it and what the severity is. You can find this specialty doctor by searching the internet or asking your regular general practice doctor for a recommendation. Consulting with and ENT along with an audiologist will give you enough information to find the hearing aid best suited for your needs.
We hope you found this beginner crash course to hearing aids helpful. For something that you will use every day of your life, finding a hearing aid that will give you the best results and comfort as well as suiting your needs is important. This is job we take seriously at Nano Hearing Aids by providing you with the best quality hearing aids on the market for a reasonable price. Hearing accounts for 20% of our senses but when we loss it, it feels like a much heavier loss. Our mission is to give you back your quality of life so that you can continue to make great memories with your loved ones and your community. Call us for more information and our friendly staff would love to answer all your questions!