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A hearing aid is a small electronic hearingdevice that is worn in or behind the ear depending on the style. Its works by amplifying some sounds to a higher volume so that a person with hearing loss can listen, communicate, and participate better in daily activities and conversations. A hearing aid proves to be useful to people in both quiet and noisy situations.
Hearing aids or ear machine consists of three basic parts: a microphone, amplifier, and speaker.
• The microphone receives the sounds and converts sound waves into electrical signals
• The amplifier increases the volume of those sounds and sends them to speaker
• The speaker enables the person to hear the sounds at an increased volume.
There are 2 types of hearing aids available:
Analog aids: they work by converting sound waves into electrical signals, which are then amplified. They can also be customised according to the specific needs of the user. The audiologists recommend adjustments which are then made by the users.
Analog/programmable hearing aids consist of more than one program or setting. Usually these aids are less expensive than digital ones.
Digital aids: these aids work by converting sound waves into numerical codes, before amplifying them. Due to the digital circuitry audiologist have more flexibility with adjusting the aid to a user’s needs and to certain listening environments. Sounds coming from a specific direction can also be focused on by adjusting these aids. All types of digital hearing aid price use digital circuitry.
Key factors in finding the most suitable hearing aid:
• Level of hearing loss, which is determined through the hearing test.
• Hearing aids cost, which depends on the level of hearing loss.
• Design for the optimum comfort of the wearer.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids comprise of a hard plastic case worn behind the ear and connected to acrylic or silicone ear-mould that fits inside ear. The electronic components are held inside a case behind the ear. The sound enters the ear through the ear mould from the hearing aid. This type of design is sensible for elders as they are easy to handle and operate. BTE aids are used in cases of mild to profound hearing loss.
A new type of BTE aid is an open-fit hearing aid. Open-fit aids fit behind the ear completely, with only a narrow tube inserted into the ear canal, which allows the canal to remain open.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids fit completely inside the ear and are used for mild to severe hearing loss. The electronic components are held inside a hard plastic case.
Canal aids fit into the ear canal and can be bought in two different styles. The in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid is customised to fit the size and shape of a person’s ear canal.
A completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aid is almost hidden in the ear canal. Both types are used in cases of mild to moderately severe hearing loss.