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How hearing aids work Hearing aids use the same basic parts to carry sounds from the environment into your ear and make them louder. Most hearing aids are digital, and all are powered with a hearing aid battery. Small microphones collect sounds from the environment. A computer chip with an amplifier converts the incoming sound into digital code. It analyzes and adjusts the sound based on your hearing loss, listening needs and the level of the sounds around you. The amplified signals are then converted back into sound waves and delivered to your ears through speakers.
Hearing aid styles Hearing aids vary a great deal in price, size, special features and the way they're placed in your ear. The following are common hearing aid styles, beginning with the smallest, least visible in the ear. Hearing aid designers keep making smaller hearing aids to meet the demand for a hearing aid that is not very noticeable.
Additional features Some hearing aid optional features improve your ability to hear in specific situations: Noise reduction. All hearing aids have some amount of noise reduction available. The amount of noise reduction varies. Directional microphones. These are aligned on the hearing aid to provide for improved pick up of sounds coming from in front of you with some reduction of sounds coming from behind or beside you. Some hearing aids are capable of focusing in one direction. Directional microphones can improve your ability to hear when you're in an environment with a lot of background noise. Rechargeable batteries. Some hearing aids have rechargeable batteries. This can make maintenance easier for you by eliminating the need to regularly change the battery. Telecoils. Telecoils make it easier to hear when talking on a telecoil-compatible telephone. The telecoil eliminates the sounds from your environment and only picks up the sounds from the telephone. Telecoils also pick up signals from public induction loop systems that can be found in some churches or theaters, allowing you to hear the speaker, play or movie better. Wireless connectivity. Increasingly, hearing aids can wirelessly interface with certain Bluetooth-compatible devices, such as cellphones, music players and televisions. You may need to use an intermediary device to pick up the phone or other signal and send it to the hearing aid. Remote controls. Some hearing aids come with a remote control, so you can adjust features without touching the hearing aid. Direct audio input. This feature allows you to plug in to audio from a television, a computer or a music device with a cord. Variable programming. Some hearing aids can store several preprogrammed settings for various listening needs and environments. Environmental noise control. Some hearing aids offer noise cancellation, which helps block out background noise. Some also offer wind noise reduction. Synchronization. For an individual with two hearing aids, the aids can be programmed to function together so that adjustments made to a hearing aid on one ear (volume control or program changes) will also be made on the other aid, allowing for simpler control.
Open-fit hearing aid is a variation of the behind-the-ear hearing aid with a thin tube. This style keeps the ear canal very open, allowing for low-frequency sounds to enter the ear naturally and for high-frequency sounds to be amplified through the hearing aid. This makes the style a good choice for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. An open-fit hearing aid: Is less visible Doesn't plug the ear like the small in-the-canal hearing aids do, making your own voice sound better to you May be more difficult to handle and adjust due to small part
IN-THE-EAR (ITE) ITE hearing aids are suitable for most types of hearing losses. They are usually small like an eartip and sit in the outer portion of the ear canal. Depending on the size of the ear canal an in the ear hearing aid may be relatively discreet. When you are fitted for an ITE, the shell of the hearing aid is custom-made to fit the shape of your ear. This shell contains all vital electronics and is great for people on-the-go who need their hearing aids to stay in place. The batteries are inserted via a battery door located directly on the hearing aid. They can be easily removed with a small magnetic wand.
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