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Getting to Know Your Hearing Aids

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Hearing Centers of AZ - Getting to Know Your Hearing AidsThe inventors of the first hearing aids wouldn’t recognize today’s advanced models. Completely manual, the groundbreaking early models were actually ear trumpets: a long, tubular device that eliminated background noise and distilled sound from what it was directionally pointed towards.

Today’s hearing aids are more like tiny computers and come in many shapes, designs and sizes. Beginning in the early 1980s, manufacturers began incorporating a digital signal process chip as an innovative way to integrate the swiftly moving computer age into the hearing aid industry. From that point on, we’ve been able to choose from digital or analogue hearing aid technology. Without a doubt, the market is flush right now with a widest array of options and features in history.

What makes a hearing aid analogue?

Most hearing aid options today are digital, although there is certainly a holdout crowd that is unflinchingly loyal to analogue hearing aids. What makes a hearing aid analogue by definition is in how it works. This type of hearing aid makes continuous sound waves louder by amplifying all sounds, both speech and noise. The microphone component picks up sound information and converts them into small electrical signals. Then, these signals are relayed to the ear.

In some instances, they are programmable, if they include a microchip that can toggle between multiple programs to accommodate different listening environments. While all sound will still be amplified, the levels can be changed to suit either a quiet spot, like a library, or a noisy environment like a restaurant. These modifications can usually be accessed by the user by pushing a button manually on the hearing aid itself.

What makes a hearing aid digital?

It’s much more likely when you’re purchasing a new hearing aid that it is a digital model. These types of hearing aids use digital technology to receive the sound information, convert it into digital signals which are then duplicated before they are transmitted into your ear. This is in opposition to the simple amplification of the analogue hearing aid. The computer chip component of the digital hearing aid is highly intelligent, analyzing speech and other sounds and prioritizing them before delivery.

Digital hearing aids benefit users by reducing background and extraneous noise. They also are able to perform a myriad of programs, allowing the sound environment to sometimes even automatically dictate the particular program the user will “hear.” The more advanced models arriving on the market can accommodate the unique hearing loss pattern of the wearer in order to bring them the most personalized sound delivery system available.

Find your best fit

Digital or analogue, hearing aids come in four distinct categories. Each one is particularly suited for different types of hearing loss and lifestyle. The best way to figure out your best match is to have an in-depth consultation with us at Hearing Centers of Arizona.

Behind the ear

This type of hearing aid suits more severe hearing loss types or wearers with smaller ear canals. All electronic parts are housed in a small compartment behind the ear. The earmold, which is customizable, sits in the ear canal. These two components are connected with a tube which transmits the actual sound.

In the ear

These hearing aids fits into the small space just outside of the ear canal, but still in the user’s ear.

In the canal

These models are similar to behind the ear configurations, but smaller and thus subtler. They are still powerful enough to treat mild to severe hearing loss.

Completely in canal

These models are incredibly small and incredibly mighty. They can often deliver sound quality on the level of a much larger model but are nearly invisible to others. This is a powerful draw for first time hearing aid wearers, whose biggest concern is often the appearance of a hearing aid.

What’s your perfect hearing aid?

The best hearing aid on the market will be the one that fits your unique hearing loss and completely individual lifestyle. There are so many options to choose from that you’re sure to find something perfectly attuned to your needs. Make sure to try a few on for size and raise questions as you have them. It’s a big decision that will positively impact quality of life, and so it shouldn’t be taken lightly!

The upsides of intervening in hearing loss are numerous, from physical and mental benefits to a number of psychological and emotional rewards. The first step in finding a perfect fit is scheduling an appointment with us at Hearing Centers of Arizona, where a specialist will test your hearing, analyze your results, get to know your habits and inclinations, then partner you with an ideal hearing device.

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