What is a Hearing Aid & Picking the right one?
A hearing aid is a device that helps with hearing loss. These devices are commonly used to treat hearing loss because of their versatility and function. Most cases of hearing loss can be treated using a hearing aid, and in some cases, the device can restore the majority of your hearing when worn.
Hearing aids are powered with electronic batteries. They are made up of several components:
- The battery
- A microphone or multiple microphones, which detect sounds around you
- A chip that amplifies the sounds
- A speaker that relays the processed sounds to your ear
There are also advanced models that might connect to Bluetooth or your smartphone, allowing you to stream media at the same time.
How Hearing Aids Help
Hearing aids amplify sound, so they’re good for people whose ability to hear has been damaged. Sometimes the hairs in the inner ear stop working, which limits your ability to process certain sounds. If you have remaining hairs that are functional, they will interpret the amplified sounds from the hearing aid. This helps compensate for the damage.
Standardized hearing aids are used in most mild to moderate cases. If you have more profound issues, you might use a more powerful model.
Types of Hearing Aid
There are hundreds of different model of hearing aid. The right one for you will vary depending on your type of hearing loss, budget, and personal aesthetic.
The two main categories are behind-the-ear and in-the-ear styles. Hearing aids that are placed in the ear tend to be more discreet. Ones that go behind the ear may be able to pick up more sound.
Some styles can barely be seen. Others are large enough to cover your entire ear. You’ll talk with your audiologist or other healthcare professional about the right type to suit your needs.
Common Technology Used
It’s common for telecoils to be used to process sound. Telecoils help you to distinguish between different sounds in loud, bustling places like airports and theaters.
There are also some advanced models that use artificial intelligence to pinpoint relevant sounds and amplify them. These technologies are still in the experimental stage, but they have real promise for people who struggle to decipher different sound sources.
For people who need two hearing aids, you can get a pair that wirelessly connects. This allows the hearing aids to network together and give you reliable surround sound, even though they aren’t connected with wires. The technology can also be used to connect your network to Bluetooth or an app.
The Fitting Process
After you’ve settled on the model that works best, you’ll need to be fitted. Some of the factors influencing the fitting include:
- The level of your hearing loss
- The type of your hearing loss
- Your aesthetic preference
- Your career concerns
- Your budget
Every person’s hearing aid is personalized to fit their unique situation.