Types of Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are devices that amplify sound. They are designed for those with hearing impairments. Almost all hearing aids have electronic components such as a microphone to pick up sound, an amplifier circuitry that increases sound, a loudspeaker that delivers the sound into the ear canal, and batteries which power the electronic components. Although the electronic components of Siemens hearing aids are similar, they differ by design, the technology used for amplification, and special features. There are some Siemens hearing aids that have earpieces which direct sound flow and enhance quality. Lifestyle, listening needs, and the severity and type of the person’s hearing loss will determine which hearing aid will best suit their needs.
Hearing Aid Styles
BTE aids are behind-the-ear hearing aids. There is a plastic case, small in size, which sits behind the ear. The plastic case contains the hearing aid batteries and most of the parts required for the hearing aid to work and it connects to an earpiece with clear tubing. Children often use this style of hearing aid because it has the ability to accommodate different ear molds, which must be replaced as a child grows. These hearing aids are easily handled, easily cleaned, and are sturdy.
A Mini BTE hearing aid fits behind the ear as well but it is smaller in size. There is an extremely thin tube, which is almost invisible, that connects the hearing aid to the canal of the ear. These aids reduce occlusion, reduce feedback, increase comfort, and deal with any cosmetic type concerns a user might have. In-the-ear hearing aids are larger and are easier for some people to handle than the smaller sized aids. In-the-canal hearing aids and completely in the canal hearing aids are the smallest of the hearing aids and offer cosmetic advantages for the user.
Digital and Analog Hearing Aids
Analog aids amplify every sound the same way. Some are programmable as well. There is a microchip that allows these aids to have programmed settings for various environments such as in a library setting or a louder place. When the environment changes a button can be pushed to change the settings but the use of analog aids is becoming less common. Digital aids are equipped with the same features as analog aids but sound waves are converted into a digital signal and it produces a duplication of the exact sound. These aids use computer chips which analyze environmental sounds and speech. They process sound which improves the performance. They are more flexible in programming in order for the transmitted sound to be matched to fit the needs of specific patterns of hearing loss. They also provide various program memories and most people seeking help for hearing loss are offered digital technology rather than the analog type aids.
Hearing Aid Features
There are many features which are optional and they can be added in order to assist in various communication settings. Directional microphones are used to help the deaf hear and communicate in noisier environments. It allows for a sound coming from a certain direction to amplify louder as compared to sounds in other directions. A telephone switch or T-coil, allows the deaf user to switch the normal setting for the microphone to the t-coil setting which allows them to hear better while using the telephone. This setting eliminates environmental sounds and instead picks up sound from the phone. It basically shuts down the microphone so there is no whistling from the aid while the user talks.
With the direct audio input feature, the deaf user is able to plug-in a microphone or other listening device, to connect to computers, or televisions. The feedback suppression feature can help to suppress any squeals a user may hear when the aid gets too close to certain objects. Adding the more complicated features allows hearing aid users to build an aid that will best suit their particular hearing issue. They can improve performance in certain situations but they may also lead to an increased cost. Prior to deciding on which style of aid to purchase, research and read various hearing aid reviews. Hearing aid reviews will provide consumers with information on cost, the best hearing aid batteries, Siemens hearing aids, style, fit, convenience, and anything else a consumer may want to know.
The following links provide more information on hearing aids, hearing aid batteries, and resources for hearing aid reviews.