Gone are the days of the antique ear trumpet but in some ways it was much simpler back then. There was basically one type of hearing appliance and while it wasn’t very efficient, at least you didn’t spend much time selecting the type of hearing aid that would work best for you.
Thank goodness those days are gone!
Now we have latest in digital technology that gives us small instruments that are highly efficient as well as comfortable to wear and virtually unnoticeable to an observer without close examination.
In the present day, a sophisticated range of hearing aids are being made by companies like Siemens, Rexton, Starkey, Phonak, Widex, and Beltron. Specialized hearing aids for children are also being made.
Modern hearing aids gather sounds from the environment through a microphone, amplify the sound and then direct this amplified signal into your ear by way of a loudspeaker. The amplified signal stimulates your inner ear, which activates nerve fibers that carry the sound impulses to your brain.
Hearing aids today are broken down into several main types which can be worn externally.
The most common is the behind the ear (BTE) aids.
These aids come with the wires encased in a semi circular hard plastic cover which can be worn behind the ear. The sound is delivered to the ear with the help of ear mold made of soft plastic which can fit inside an individual’s ear. They are available in a variety of colors to match the skin and/or hair color to make them less noticeable. In recent years they have been technically improved with the use of thinner and invisible sound tubes. The most popular of these is the small “open fit” hearing aid.
In-the-canal (ITC) in-the-ear (ITE) and completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids all fit in the ear canal itself.
The receiver, microphone and amplifier are contained within a shell worn in the ear. Completely-in-the Canal aids are the smallest model available and fit deep inside your ear canal so that they’re practically invisible. In-the-Canal aids are small enough to fit almost entirely in your ear canal, making them hardly noticeable. In-the-Ear aids fit within your outer ear.
Hearing aids are either digital or analog. Digital technology offers many refinements so the aid can be adjusted to better compensate for the amplitude and frequency of hearing loss. They are also smaller but cost more than the analog hearing aids. The vast majority of hearing aids sold in the United States today are digital.
Before purchasing any hearing aid it is well to be examined by an audiologist who will determine the extent of your hearing loss. You will then be able to obtain the best hearing aid for your particular loss. You can also buy hearing aids online without a prescription and many people have found this to be satisfactory, especially if they are trying to save money.
We recommend you also read our reviews of the best earplugs for sleeping.