Getting to Know Your Hearing Aids

Getting to Know Your Hearing Aids

Bonnie L. Baehr, Au.D. Hearing Aids

Bonnie L. Baehr, Au.D.

Have you recently come to suspect that you could benefit from hearing aids? Have you been diagnosed with hearing loss but feel overwhelmed by all the options? It can be totally overwhelming to understand what hearing aids will be best for you. There are so many styles and added features to choose from. If you are confused as to what the best style could be for you or what features could benefit you most, we are here to help. Once we test your hearing loss, we have an idea of the range of sound you can perceive and what style, program and features may serve you the best.

Types of Hearing Aids

There are several different styles of hearing aids. Some have more power while others may be more discrete but not as appropriate depending on the degree of your hearing loss. The most common hearing aids today are digital high-tech computers which process sound better than ever before. Here are some of the most common styles. 

Behind-the-Ear: One of the most common hearing aids, this type sits behind the ear, with a small clear tube which leads to your ear canal. The reason this type is so popular is that it is easy to use and has ample power for those with mild to severe hearing loss.

In-the-Ear: ITE hearing devices are custom made to fit perfectly inside the cup of your outer ear. Because of their size they have enough power to handle severe hearing loss

In-the-Canal: This discrete model, an in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid is custom molded to fit your ear canal. This tiny hearing aid is easy to put in and out and offers many features, though it may lack the power for those with more serious cases of hearing loss.

Completely-in-the-Canal: The smallest hearing aid available – it’s nearly invisible. Providing the most discreet hearing aid experience it fits very far inside your ear canal so no one will know you are using hearing aids.

Digital Hearing Aids

You may remember the hearing aids of the 80’s and 90’s being susceptible to feedback and constant static. Todays’ hearing aids have phased out analogue technology in favor of digital sound delivery. Instead of relying on a wave of sound to amplify sound, digital hearing aids segment sound into even and optimized mini steps, which ensure that sound will be delivered in the clearest way possible every time.

Adaptive Technology

Everyone’s hearing loss is slightly different. Using digital technology, programs and settings on your hearing aids can be finely tuned to match your exact level of hearing loss. It can favor the specific frequencies and tones you are struggling with, so your hearing aids amplify only the sounds you need and not everything all at once. Some features available with digital hearing aids even allow them to analyze the listening environment and automatically switch between settings and programs, as you change locations during the day.

Understanding How Hearing Aids Work

All hearing aids, no matter the style, all have four of the same components. This includes:

  • A small microphone to pick up sound in your environment.
  • An amplifier makes the calibrated sounds louder, so they are detectable to your ears.
  • A receiver, also known as the speaker, converts the electrical signals from the microphone into acoustic signals sent to the ears.
  • A battery serves as the power source for hearing aids. These can be replaceable or rechargeable.

In addition, many digital hearing aids come equipped with a digital processor which runs the sound the microphone receives through a minicomputer to provide the listener with the sounds they require for their specific program.

Choosing the Best Hearing Aid for You

Are you concerned you won’t pick out the best hearing aid for you? Don’t worry! We are here for you! We understand that all the choices can be overwhelming. That is why we will ask you a series of questions to understand your lifestyle and your hearing needs. Understanding the amount of power your hearing aids will require for your particular hearing loss and cross referencing that with your lifestyle preferences can whittle your options down to identify just a few models that can suit you best. The first step is scheduling a hearing exam! Do it today!