Hearing aids are incredible pieces of technology that provide significant support for millions of people with hearing loss. They are the most common way hearing loss is treated. These savvy devices are equipped with cutting edge technologies that absorb, amplogy, and process speech as well as sound efficiently and effectively. This delivers enhanced sound quality, supporting hearing as seamlessly as possible in everyday environments. If you are navigating your hearing aid options, you likely have many questions. Here are a few frequently asked questions that can help you learn more about hearing aids:
- How do hearing aids work? Though there are many types of hearing aids, all hearing aids consist of the same basic components that allow them to process sound. This includes:
- Microphone: a small microphone collects soundwaves from the environment and converts them into electrical signals. These signals are then sent to the amplifier.
- Amplifier: amplifies signals and sends them to the speaker.
- Speaker: also referred to as the receiver, the speaker sends signals to the inner ear where they are further processed before being sent to the brain.
The last component of all hearing aids is the power source. All devices are either operated with disposable batteries or a rechargeable battery.
- Are there different types of hearing aids? There are several types of hearing aids which describe the style, or how the hearing aid is worn. Hearing aid styles can be categorized as behind the ear types or in the ear devices. Within these categories, there are different styles and size options. This includes:
- Behind-the-ear (BTE): BTE devices are worn behind the top portion of the outer ear. There is a thin tube that connects this portion of the hearing aid with an ear piece in the ear canal. There are a few types of BTE hearing aids like receiver in the ear (RITE) and mini BTE hearing aids.
- In-the-ear (ITE): in the ear hearing aids are smaller than BTE types and are custom made to your ears. ITE devices are worn at different places in the ear depending on the type which include: in the canal (ITC), invisible in canal (IIC), and completely in canal (CIC).
In addition to hearing aid styles, there are different models, colors, and technologies.
- Which type is best for me? The type of hearing aid that is best for you will depend on a few factors. This includes the specifics of your hearing loss – type of hearing loss, degree of impairment in each ear etc. Additionally, lifestyle factors are also used to identify devices that would be optimal for you. This includes things like your work environment, what your social life looks like, any activities or hobbies you regularly participate in, the type of climate you live in etc. This helps identify the types of environments you are regularly in which illuminates what your hearing aids need to be able to do in these contexts to best meet your hearing needs.
- How do I navigate hearing aid options? Your hearing healthcare provider will recommend devices that can work well for you. To navigate your options it is helpful for you to think about a budget, the technologies you are interested in, any aesthetic preferences etc. Knowing this ahead of time can help you filter through your options.
- How do you maintain hearing aids? You will receive your hearing aids during your hearing aid fitting appointment – the follow up to your hearing test. During this appointment, your hearing aids are calibrated with specific settings that support your hearing needs. You will also learn everything about how to use and take care of your device. This includes how to clean them which is especially important because it contributes to the performance and longevity of your hearing aids. It is important to develop a maintenance routine that you perform nightly when you remove your hearing aids. This should include using a soft and dry cloth to thoroughly wipe down your device, using a dehumidifier to remove any moisture, and storing your device in a cool place overnight.
Be sure to thoroughly discuss your hearing aid options with your hearing healthcare provider. Contact us today to learn more about hearing aids and how to best navigate choosing the best device for you.