A tiny medical device called hearing aid helps the person with impaired hearing ability to hear quality sound from surroundings. With the help of hearing aid, a person with hear loss can interact and communicate with society more clearly and efficiently.
Parts of hearing aids (1)
It receives the signals of sound from environment and turns them into electrical signals. These electrical signals are assessed by the processor. Modern types of hearing aid have microphones that can differentiate frequencies of sound such as noise and speech. Two types of microphones are used in hearing aids.
- Directional microphones
This helps the wearer to hear sound coming in front of them. It is useful when the wearer wants to understand the communication clearly in a noisy environment.
- Omni directional microphones
This type of microphone picks up the signal from all directions. It gives the viewer a sense to analyse the direction a sound is coming from.
2. Processor or amplifier
The amplifier or processor can be viewed as motherboard or computer of the hearing aid. Microphone transfers the electrical sound signals to the processor or amplifier. It transforms the electrical signals into digital signals. Digital signals are then adjusted according to the wearer’s need. It assesses how much the sound is required to be amplified to accommodate the hearing loss of person. It cancels out any noise or feedback from surroundings. After all the adjustments are done the amplifier turns the digital signals back into analogue signals. From there, the signals are transferred to 3rd or final hearing aid component.
It is the final component of hearing aid. It generates a huge sound wave that will accommodate the hearing loss of person. For this purpose the receiver must turn the signal coming from amplifier to audible sound. This component of hearing aid is placed in such a way that it is directed towards the inner ear. In some hearing aids, the receiver is supposed to be directly placed in the ear canal. In other devices receiver is connected to a tiny tube which is placed inside the ear.
Other hearing aid components
- Ton hook or ear hook
It is a clean tiny tube that loops over the outer ear and is connected to receiver.
- Hearing aid battery
It gives power to other hearing aid parts.
It allows ventilation and avoids the sensation of plugged-up ear.
- Volume control
It allows the consumer to adjust the volume of sound according to his need. This component is not available on all hearing aid styles.
- Wax guard
It is a small changeable filter that avoids the wax from getting into the hearing aid components.
Hearing aid styles (2)
- Completely in the canal CIC or mini CIC
It is designed in such a way that it completely fits in the ear canal. It is the least visible type and does not pick up the noise from air. It has small battery with short life span. It often does not have additional features such as directional microphone or volume control.
- In the canal
It is designed in such a way that it partly fits in the ear canal. It is less noticeable in ear. It includes those features that are not present in completely in the canal aids. Ear wax can clog the speaker of this style of hearing aid.
- In the ear
It is designed in two styles. One that covers the maximum part of outer ear and one that covers the lower half shell of ear. It is helpful for the people who are suffering from mild to severe hearing problems. It includes those features which cannot be fit into other smaller styles such as volume control. It has a large battery with large life span and has an option to recharge. Ear wax can clog the speaker in this style.
- Behind the ear
It loops over the outer shell of ear and remains behind the ear. Hearing aid is connected to ear mold via a tube. This ear mold is then fits in the ear canal. It is a traditional hearing aid with largest body style. It possesses directional microphone find sometimes has rechargeable battery.
- Receiver in canal or receiver in the ear
It resembles behind the ear hearing aid. It comes with the receiver or speaker that resides in the ear canal. This receiver is connected to the outer component via a tiny wire. It’s behind the ear part is less visible. It possesses directional microphones and manual control options. It is suitable for the people suffering from mild to swear hearing problems.
Brands and manufacturers of hearing aids (3)
The aim of Oticon More hearing aids is to minimize cognitive stress and relaxes the brain to carry out other critical tasks. This brand improves the interaction of consumer with surroundings and helps him to hear better. Oticon More miniRITE Is the smallest behind the ear aid of oticon. It is made for Android and iPhone users . A listener can adjust the volume through a small push.
The average cost of oticon hearing aid is $2600
- Phonak hearing aid
This brand has been a master in the industry for function and quality of its product. The new Phonak Paradise hearing aid provides a different hearing experience with natural sound, outstanding speech understanding, voice assistance, noise cancelling technique and ability to connect to the television, smart phones etc.
The average cost phonak hearing aid is $2900.
- Resound hearing aids
Resound ONE hearing aids deliver the sound right inside the ear with appropriate direction and greater depth. With industry-leading rechargeability and a brand new chip, it accommodates all aspects of patients requirements. Resound LiNX Quattro Allows comfort listening in noisy environment. It permits the consumer to control the device through the smartphone.
The average cost of resound hearing aid is $2350.
Where to buy hearing aids
A person can buy them from pharmacies and medical stores. These are now also available online but it is always recommended to get an expert’s opinion prior to buying online yourself.