Selecting a hearing aid might appear to be a very complicated procedure but fortunately when you are working with our Doctor of Audiology the whole process can be quite simple.
Hearing aids are the primary means of managing a hearing loss that cannot be treated medically or surgically. The audiologist performs a comprehensive hearing evaluation to determine whether or not you are a candidate for hearing aids. Based on your evaluation, the audiologist may recommend hearing aids or refer to the ENT physician to investigate medical or surgical options.
Hearing aids are similar to a miniature public address system. The microphone picks up the sound, the amplifier makes the sound louder, and the receiver (speaker) delivers the sound. Since 2009 close to 100 percent of all hearing aids are digital. Digital technology allows advantageous manipulation of sound in many useful ways. Some hearing aids are completely automatic, while others have user-adjustable controls. Your audiologist will work with you to review hearing aid options. The two of you will select the best configuration for your particular needs. All hearing aids are powered by a battery.
Hearing aid styles may be broadly classified as “standard” and “custom.” Standard hearing aids include behind-the-ear (BTE), mini-BTE, and receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) devices. These products are designed to fit most ears and usually require some customization of the earpiece and the connection of the device to the earpiece. Custom hearing aids include in-the-ear (ITE), in-the-canal (ITC), and completely-in-the-canal (CIC). These products require a custom-molded shell that houses the electronics. Standard and custom hearing aids come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes.
The choice of hearing aid style and features is based upon several factors including the exact type and degree of hearing loss, your individual needs (such as communication requirements, lifestyle, vision and manual dexterity), and your medical and audiological history and related findings.
One or Two Hearing Aids
If both ears need amplification, your audiologist will recommend two hearing aids. Research has shown that two hearing aids provide superior benefits for the majority of people with regard to better word recognition in quiet and noisy backgrounds, better quality of sound, better localization ability and more natural hearing. Research has also shown that when both ears are candidates for hearing aids and only one ear is fitted, the unaided ear may lose speech recognition ability more rapidly than the fitted ear.
Several features are available to improve the hearing aid experience. The most common are
- Directional microphones to enhance speech understanding in noise,
- Noise management to improve listening comfort in noisy situations,
- Feedback cancellation to alleviate the annoyance of whistling and buzzing, and
- Telephone programs to access sound from phones and other sound sources.