How are Hearing Devices Different?
Hearing devices do the same job, which is amplifying sound. Simple.
Why then are there so many models to choose from?
The answer has to do with choice, competition and technical advances, all of which combine to the user’s advantage.
Hearing devices: The similarities
The job of the hearing aid is to amplify sound. Doing so enables people suffering from hearing loss to hear more clearly. To achieve this aim, all hearing devices share some similar components. These are:
- Microphone: This picks up sounds from the environment, doing a similar job to the ear.
- Amplifier: This registers the sound and processes it for maximum clarity and volume.
- Receiver: This channels the processed sound deep into your ear canal, either via a fine tube or an earmold.
- Battery: This powers the hearing aids.
Hearing devices: The differences
Because no two people’s hearing needs are the same, devices have different capabilities.
Consider a simple thing like amplification. A person with profound hearing loss needs a device that provides maximum amplification. In turn, this requires more power, which means a larger battery. The battery size becomes a limiting factor for size and discreetness. The answer is an amplifier that sits behind the ear (rather than within the limited space of the ear canal) where it’s possible to accommodate a larger battery.
Consider things from the opposite direction. A person with mild hearing loss may feel self-conscious about wearing a hearing aid. As such, he or she need’s mild amplification (which doesn’t need a large power source) and a discrete device. This is the beauty of fully in-the-canal devices, which meet exactly these needs.
In short, miniaturization and digitalization have led to a revolution in what’s possible in hearing aid design. Never before have so many different models and types of hearing device been available, for exactly these reasons.
What the variety of models do is trade off one feature against another. These include:
- Special features such as being waterproof or minimizes wind noise.
How to decide which is right for you
For a start, don’t worry. The audiologist is an expert in the field who is there to help you.
Simply draw up a ‘wish list’ of the things that are most important to you. Decide what matters most and which accessories or benefits you are least prepared to compromise on.
Then make sure to schedule a hearing test with an audiologist. They will provide an accurate picture of your hearing and can advise if your wish list is realistic given your hearing loss.
During the discussion, the audiologist will recommend the models best suited to your needs for you to consider. Remember, choice isn’t meant to be baffling, but helpful, which is where an audiologist can help you navigate your way to the perfect device.