Hearing aids are portable devices you wear in or behind your ear to hear more clearly. They amplify and process sounds so that a person with hearing loss can communicate and participate in daily activities more easily. In quiet or noisy environments, hearing aids can help people to hear more of what they want to hear, and less of what they don’t.
Simply stated, hearing aids consist of a microphone, flexible printed circuit board, battery and receiver.
- First, the microphone picks up the sound from the environment and converts it into an electrical signal. Hearing aids can have more than one microphone, which is referred to as a directional microphone system. This system is designed to prioritize sound in front of the listener, key for maintaining comfort in noisy environments. Digital technology converts the incoming signal from the microphones into digital code. That code is then analyzed and adjusted based on the listener’s environment and degree of hearing loss.
- The flexible printed circuit board consists of more than 60 different components and integrated circuits. It is often thought of as the brains of the hearing aid. The flexible printed circuit board contains both the digital signal processing chip and the radio used to communicate with an iPhone or Android telephone.
Fun fact: The processing power of the printed circuit board inside the newer hearing aid is magnitudes greater than the computers aboard the Apollo 11 space shuttle that landed on the moon!
- The battery provides the power for the hearing aid.
- The receiver converts the amplified electrical signal into sound and delivers it into the ear without distorting or limiting the sound.
There are several types of hearing aids, each with their own specific benefits. Let’s explore each type:
Approximately 80% of people who wear hearing aids use this style. The unit fits discretely behind-the-ear and is typically iPhone and/or Android compatible.
Barely visible when worn, the RIC style is an instrument in which the receiver, or speaker, is inside the ear canal. Thin electrical wires are used instead of a plastic tube, reducing distortion. RIC hearing aids provide a comfortable, open fit.
This is the largest style we offer. In behind-the-ear hearing aids, all electronic parts are worn behind the ear in a plastic case. Sound is sent to the ear by a tube connecting the case to the receiver earbud into the ear canal.
This style offers a significant low and high-frequency boost. Controls are generally easy to access for most people and can be iPhone/Android compatible. If the model includes a custom-fit earmold, this can be easily cleaned.
While traditional hearing aids capture and process sound outside of the ear, Lyric uses the natural anatomy of the ear to amplify and give you a full, natural listening experience.
Because Lyric is placed in the ear canal near the eardrum by a trained professional, it is the world’s only 100% invisible hearing aid. Originating in Silicon Valley, Lyric incorporates Swiss precision engineering to create a work of technological art.
Custom Hearing Aids:
These are placed in the ear canal and are fit according to an impression we create during your consultation.
The case, which rests in the outer ear bowl, contains all the electronic components. The size of the device can provide room for special features such as a telecoil, directional microphones and even wireless streaming features. It is comparatively easy to insert. However, ITE devices are more visibly noticeable than other models.
Usually placed in the lower part of the outer ear, ITC hearing aids are easy to use and very comfortable. Since they are slightly larger in size than IIC and CIC, their battery life may be slightly better and they can accommodate a wider range of hearing losses. Their size also makes them suitable for additional features such as directional microphones to enhance understanding in noisy environments, as well as manual controls such as a volume wheel.
For mild to severe hearing loss.
A CIC hearing aid is very small and is almost covered up completely in the ear canal. It fits more deeply into the ear and is removed with a string at the end of the day. They can help those with mild to severe hearing loss.
The deep placement of this style of hearing aid helps the devices reduce feedback during phone calls and there is little to no wind noise when wearing it. Since they is completely within the ear canal, very few people will notice you wearing them.. The drawbacks include an increased difficulty in adjusting and removing the device compared with larger styles. The CIC style is also not particularly suitable for children, or adults with dexterity problems.
This custom-fitted style is inserted farther into the ear canal than other styles, so it’s typically completely invisible when worn. IIC hearing aids are designed to be removed daily to promote good ear health. For mild to moderate hearing loss. Individual results may vary. Invisibility may vary based on your ear’s anatomy.
Do you think you might benefit from hearing aids? Call us today to set up an appointment to learn more. We can help you to select the best system for your hearing loss, your finances and your cosmetic concerns. We will also call your insurance company to see if you have any benefits that might help out with your purchase.
You Deserve Great Hearing!