What are the types of Hearing Aids?

Basic Conventional Hearing Aids have been around for years.  A computer can not adjust this hearing aid but we always order one or two parameters such as low or high cut potentiometer that can be adjusted by the audiologist in our office.  This peak clipping circuit is the least expensive.  If your hearing changes, this hearing aid must be sent back to the manufacturer for adjustments.

One step up from the basic conventional hearing aid is the basic conventional hearing aid with advanced compression.  The compression technology allows for some additional help in a background of noise over the conventional circuit alone.

Programmable Hearing Aids can be quickly and accurately programmed through our computer for your particular hearing loss, needs and preferences, right in our offices.  If your hearing changes (gets a little worse through the years) we can modify your hearing aid to match your current needs.  These circuits have become very popular.  The benefits of this technology includes:

  • Improved speech audibility in quiet conditions.
  • Ability to hear sounds at a greater distance.
  • Less annoyance from unwanted environmental sounds like wind, traffic, door slamming, etc.
  • Less likelihood of feedback (whistling).
  • Greater ease in handling; many have no manual volume controls – most programmables adjust automatically.
  • Higher overall preference due to audibility of softer sounds, sound quality, ease of use, audibility of environmental sounds, and comfortable listening range.

Some of the programmable hearing aids offer multiple memory programming enabling the user to switch to different settings for different listening situations.  We can program a setting for quiet environments, one for noisy situations such as restaurants or parties, and one for music or talking on the telephone.  All you need to do is select the program that matches your listening situation by pressing a button on your hearing aid.  This type of hearing aid is a stepping stone to true digital technology.

Digital Hearing Aids are the newest most advanced technology containing a computer chip inside the hearing aid that processes the sound.  Since they are capable of rapid sound processing, these aids are able to separate some unwanted noise from the desired speech information and eliminate much of the distortion commonly experienced with conventional analog hearing aids.  100 % digital technology allows the hearing aid to adapt to the changes in your listening environments automatically.  The digital sound is clearer and more natural sounding.  The digital hearing aid can be reprogrammed in our office to compensate for any changes in your hearing.  Most people with a hearing loss can expect the following benefits:

  • The most improved speech audibility in quiet situations.
  • The most improved speech intelligibility at a distance.
  • The most improved natural sound quality.
  • The most improved speech intelligibility in noise.
  • The most improved speech clarity and comfort.
  • The least annoyance from unwanted environmental sounds like wind, traffic, door slamming, etc.
  • The least likelihood of feedback (whistling)
  • The greatest ease in handling; no manual volume control – The hearing aid adjusts itself.
  • The telephone switch can be programmed to provide additional gain, improved sound quality and reduced humming from electrical interference.
  • The highest overall preference due to audibility of softer sounds, sound quality, ease of use, audibility of environmental sounds, and the most comfortable listening range.

Research

Research has shown that hearing aids improve your quality of life in the following ways:

  • Hearing impairment is related to both impaired cognition and depression.
  • Marked social, emotional and communication difficulties are caused by hearing loss even in cases of mild to moderate loss.  There is greater risk for depression and feeling of isolation and withdrawal from social interactions.
  • A study of 1200 men found males who are borderline hypertensive are 32 % more likely and men with moderate hypertensive are 74 % more likely to have a hearing loss (J Amer Acad Audiology).
  • A study at Northwestern University indicated that for many women a gradual decline of hearing begins in midlife and often goes undiagnosed and untreated.  Unidentified hearing loss has a significant effect on an individuals quality of life, including negative effects on communication, functional health status and family relationships.
  • Hetu et al (1993) demonstrated that family members as well as the person with a hearing loss may experience stress, tension and irritation when hearing loss is not identified.
  •  Hearing aids are very successful treatments for reversing the social, emotional, and communication dysfunction caused by hearing impairment (Annals Internal Medicine).

 “The ability to communicate – to share with others – enriches life.  Don’t let a hearing loss deprive you of this joy.”
 –   Richard Thomas, National Chairman, Better Hearing Institute.

Approximately 10% of all hearing losses may be helped medically.  Thanks to today’s various technological advances, the remaining 90% may be helped with hearing aids.