The past 15 years have seen astonishing technological advances in hearing amplification. Some individuals who would not have been candidates for hearing aids a decade ago are now able to more easily participate in family, social and work situations because of these advances in technology. Others who have used hearing aids in the past find that these new technologies have made it possible for them to function better and with fewer frustrations.
Digital Hearing Aids - State of the Art Technology
Digital signal processing refers to sound that is converted to binary numbers and processed using mathematical equations referred to as algorithms. The algorithms used to modify the signal vary by manufacturer, but the purpose is the same: to provide a signal that is similar to the original, with the least amount of distortion and best sound quality.
Digital hearing aids have largely replaced the older "analog" technology due to their superior signal processing and flexibility. Digital technology offers the following advantages:
the ability to "fine tune" the hearing aid(s) for specific hearing losses
the ability to amplify sound depending upon the volume, so that loud sounds are not too loud, and soft sounds can be heard
improved listening in quiet environments as well as noisy environments
flexibility of micophone directionality, tailored to different listening environments
reduced feedback (whistling or squeal)
Digital Hearing Aid Options & Features Which digital hearing aid is right for you?
If you are purcasing a digital hearing aid for the first time, the number of options may seem overwhelming at first. Your audiogram (the results of your hearing evaluation) will play a primary role in determining which digital circuit technologies and style options are most appropriate for your hearing loss. Additional considerations include your listening needs, expectations and lifestyle, your ear anatomy, your dexterity, your personal cosmetic preferences, and your budget. In other words, your unique set of circumstances will play a critical role in the selection process, which is the reason why two individuals with identical hearing losses may not benefit equally from the same hearing aid.
Still overwhelmed? Don't be. At Adobe Hearing Center, your audiologist will assist you in choosing the best hearing instruments to meet all of your hearing needs.
Styles of Hearing Aids
The term "style" conjures up images of fashion and individual taste. It should be noted, however, that hearing aid style is not only a matter of personal preference; style may play an important role in the overall performance of the hearing aid. Certain types and degrees of hearing loss are fit more optimally with some styles more than others.
The chart below shows the most common hearing aid styles available.
Fit Behind-the-Ear (BTE) BTE aids are connected to a thin
tube which directs sound into the ear. The open ear fitting
is less visible than traditional behind-the-ear hearing aids
and also allows the user to hear more naturally, including
the sound of his/her own voice.
BTE aids are connected by a tube
to a clear custom mold, fitted inside the ear. BTE aids accommodate
the widest range of hearing losses, are durable, and often
have a longer battery life than custom models.
The ITE style is custom fit into
the canal and outer shell of the ear. It can accommodate a
wider rrange of hearing losses than the canal and CIC. It is
relatively easy to operate due to its larger battery and physical
The canal hearing aid does not fit
as deeply into the ear canal as the CIC (below), but offers
less visibility than the ITE. It is most appropriate for the
mild to moderate hearing losses.
In the Canal (CIC)
The smallest custom fit hearing
instrument style on the market, the CIC fits deep inside the
ear canal and is virtually unseen. CIC hearing aids are best
suited for mild or moderate degrees of hearing loss. Individuals
with narrow ear canals with sharp turns would not be good candidates.
Adobe Hearing Center wishes to thank Oticon, Inc. and Unitron Hearing for the use of the above photographs.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended to be used as a substitute for evaluation, consultation or diagnosis by a licensed physician or licensed audiologist. Further, it is not intended to be all-inclusive. Always consult with your audiologist and primary care physician regarding matters related to your hearing.