As humans, we have five different senses that tend to be taken for granted. If we lose any of these senses, the impact on our emotional well-being, relationships, and professional opportunities can be immense.
The common challenges faced by those with hearing loss are often underappreciated. Not only do Individuals who suffer from early-onset hearing loss experience limited job opportunities but also communication barriers and feelings of isolation. Therefore, hearing solutions play a significant role in improving the quality of life of many people living with hearing loss.
Although there are different approaches to treating and dealing with hearing loss, hearing aids are one of the most effective and popular treatments. These small electronic devices won’t actually improve your hearing but rather make the sounds around you louder and clearer. Keep reading if you want to learn more about how hearing aids work.
What Is a Hearing Aid?
Hearing aids are small electronic devices worn behind or in the ear and are normally recommended for those with hearing difficulties or loss. The hearing aids themselves function by magnifying the vibrations entering the ear, which essentially increases the volume and clarity of the sounds around you, making them easier to hear. How we hear is important, this means that hearing aids can help you hear everyday sounds and even increase your confidence when conversing with people.
Unfortunately, hearing aids are only beneficial to people who still have some level of hearing left.
How Do Hearing Aids Work?
Not all hearing aids work in the same way. The two main types are Digital hearing aids and Analog hearing aids. These two types work in the following ways:
Digital Hearing Aids
Digital hearing aids work by taking the sound waves and converting them into numerical code. This code, similar to the binary code that computers use, is amplified by the hearing aid. A digital hearing aid can then be programmed to amplify certain frequencies more than others. Digital hearing aids tend to offer you more personalization and flexibility regarding the user’s needs and environment.
Analog Hearing Aids
Analog hearing aids tend to be built specifically for each user and work by converting sound into electrical signals. These electrical signals are then amplified by the hearing aid and enable the user to hear sounds loud and clear.
Your hearing specialist usually programs analog hearing aids to meet your specific hearing needs. However, your hearing aid settings can also be altered so that you can change the program of your hearing aid to match the type of environment you are in.
Analog hearing aids are also generally cheaper than digital hearing aids, making them a popular choice for those with hearing loss.
Styles of Hearing Aids
As well as choosing between two different types of hearing aid, there is also a selection of styles to choose from. These range between the smaller discreet hearing aids ideal for minor hearing loss and larger ones that offer greater functionality and power. Explore some of the styles below:
Completely In the Canal (CIC)
This type of hearing aid is the smallest and most discreet form of hearing aid around. They are barely visible when worn and usually used by people with minor hearing loss, as they don’t generally offer enough power for those with more severe hearing loss.
Canal or In the Canal
These small hearing aids are made to just fill the opening of your ear, and much like the CIC hearing aids, they are not suitable for users with severe hearing loss.
Full Shell or In the Ear (ITE)
The full shell or ITE hearing aids are generally suitable for mild to severe levels of hearing loss. These larger hearing aids fill the entire opening of your ear, making them visible from the side.
Behind the Ear (BTE)
These behind-the-ear hearing aids tend to be the most common form of hearing aids and are used by all ages and all levels of hearing loss. They are made up of a small plastic device that sits behind the ear, attached to an earmold or soft tip by a tube that goes into your ear. The sounds are picked up by the hearing aid and carried through the earmould or soft tip and into the ear.
Slim Tube or Receiver in Canal
These are similar to behind-the-ear hearing aids, except a slim tubing connects the hearing aid and the speaker or receiver. These types of hearing aids are generally less visible than BTE hearing aids.
CROS or BiCROS
CROS and BiCROS hearing aids are specially designed for those who have lost hearing in one ear. This type of hearing aid works by the hearing aid in the ear with hearing loss, picking up the sound and sending it to the good ear.
Hearing loss can be a sensitive subject, but with the range of hearing solutions available, the problems associated with hearing loss don’t have to impact your life. If you are worried about your hearing, contact your local hearing specialists for a test and live a life full of the sounds you love.