Congratulations! You’ve just done something that many folks put off for years or even decades. Choosing to intervene in hearing loss is a way to introduce ease and communication back into your life. Hearing aid wearers report less instances of depression than those people whose hearing loss remains undiagnosed and unacknowledged. It also gives you back control in your life, knowing that you are autonomous and have direct control over your hearing health treatment.
Of course, a transition period always exists whenever we make major changes in our daily lives and the window of time it takes to adjust to hearing aids is no exception. Caring for hearing aids is a whole new behavior to adapt to, as well as getting to know a bit more about the type and models available out there.
An age of advancements
What a time to be alive! There has probably been no better time in the history of human evolution to develop hearing loss. And we’re not joking. Hearing aids only really appeared at the end of the 19th century, so it’s a relatively new technology. And those first hearing aids? They were called ear trumpets and consisted of a piece of equipment help up to the ear that would amplify sounds. The makers of those first hearing aids probably couldn’t pick today’s hearing aids out of a lineup!
Analogue hearing aids
Today’s hearing aids are more like tiny computers and come in many shapes, designs and sizes. Beginning in the early 1980s and coinciding with the predominance of the computer, manufacturers began introducing a digital signal process chip as a way to integrate the rapidly developing technology into hearing loss therapy.
Most hearing aid technology today is digital, although some longtime hearing aid wearers remain staunchly loyal to their analogue editions. An analogue hearing aid, by today’s definition, simply makes continuous sound waves louder by amplifying all sounds, both speech and noise. Analogue hearing aids are disarmingly simple, without having to worry about programs or settings. The main operation of these hearing aids is on/off and volume control. Of course, the drawback is that when all sound is amplified, it becomes harder to hear when background noise is present and persistent.
Digital hearing aids
More than likely, you will choose a digital option. The learning curve is a bit steeper, but it’s well worth the time spent. Digital hearing aids are able to focus in on speech and filter out background noise, making the listening experience significantly more accessible and certainly more pleasant.
Digital hearing aids are those that incorporate digital technology to receive sound information, converting it into digital signals. These are then transmitted into the ear in a lightning quick process. The computer chip component of the digital hearing aid is amazingly intelligent, which is why they are able to analyze speech and other sounds and prioritize them before delivery.
Get with the program
As hearing aid technology benefits from the amazing leaps forward we’ve taken in this computer age, these advancements are incorporated into more and more models. Today’s hearing aids often come with preset programs that the wearer is able to flip through so that their hearing aid is working in tandem with the listening environment they find themselves in. If you’re in a quiet concert hall, the program your hearing aid is functioning on will be much different that if you’re at a cocktail party. With each program, the hearing aid is able to analyze the sound information you want to hear and eliminate what you don’t. The more advanced models on the market can even pull the wearer’s unique hearing loss pattern into the equation to further personalize and deliver the best sound information available!
Which to wear?
Beyond digital and analogue, you’ll also decide which fit suits your hearing loss and lifestyle best. Hearing aids come in four distinct categories. The best way to figure out your best match is to have an in-depth consultation with our team at Fidelity Hearing Centers.
Behind the ear
This type of hearing aid suits more severe hearing loss types or wearers with smaller ear canals. All electronic parts are housed in a small compartment behind the ear. The earmold, which is customizable, sits in the ear canal. These two components are connected with a tube which transmits the actual sound.
In the ear
These hearing aids fits into the small space just outside of the ear canal, but still in the user’s ear.
In the canal
These models are similar to behind the ear configurations, but smaller and thus subtler. They are still powerful enough to treat mild to severe hearing loss.
Completely in canal
These models are incredibly small and incredibly mighty. They can often deliver sound quality on the level of a much larger model but are nearly invisible to others. This is a powerful draw for first time hearing aid wearers, whose biggest concern is often the appearance of a hearing aid.
The path to healthier hearing
Ultimately, the best hearing aid on the market is the one that fits you best, both in your lifestyle and in your pattern of hearing loss. A quick and easy hearing test with a trusted hearing professional at Fidelity Hearing Centers and an ensuing conversation is the quickest way to find your way forward on the path to healthier hearing!