What are hearing aids?
Hearing aids are micro-computers, worn in or behind the ear, that make it possible for a person with hearing loss to hear sound.
Depending on the type and degree of hearing loss, each person will need the hearing aids to amplify (increase) different sounds on the low-to-high frequency spectrum. This is why an Audiologist programs hearing aids to a person’s individual needs.
Early treatment of hearing loss with hearing aids can bring missing sounds back into range. That’s because it’s the brain that makes sense of the sound signals that our ears hear; this is called auditory processing. As hearing loss progresses the brain receives fewer sound signals. This missing information may be experienced as mumbling, garbled sounds or difficulty understanding words. Hearing aids help the brain stay “in shape” for better hearing.
Hearing aids ensure that people experiencing hearing loss remain connected to the people, and the sounds, that make life richer.
How your Audiologist recommends hearing aids
There are many factors behind choosing a hearing aid. Your Audiologist will ask you specific questions and listen to your perspective on your hearing. Then your Audiologist will perform a comprehensive hearing evaluation. Based on the case history, test results, and your personal preferences, your Audiologist will recommend hearing aids that are best suited for you.
Factors to consider when choosing hearing aids:
- Your level of hearing loss
- Your lifestyle and what type of listening situations apply to you
- Your technology preferences. For example, do you want to connect your hearing aids wirelessly to your smartphone or television?
- Comfort based on the size and shape of your ear
- Price and quality
- Rechargeable or battery-powered
- How well your fingers and hands can manage small items
- Other conditions such as tinnitus
How do hearing aids work?
All hearing aids have the same main components: a computer chip, a microphone, an amplifier, a receiver and a disposable or rechargeable battery.
The main parts of a hearing aid:
- A microphone receives sound
- An amplifier increases the volume of that sound
- A receiver sends the amplified sounds into your ear
Inside hearing aids image by Oticon.
Advanced hearing aids can be personalized to the user’s listening preferences and many connect wirelessly to devices such as smartphones, computers, tablets and the television. Read more about options
such as tinnitus maskers, volume controls and noise reduction.
Hearing aid styles
There are 8 main hearing aid styles
that we consider when making a recommendation for a client.
Each style is best suited for specific factors including the degree of hearing loss, the size and shape of the inner and outer ear, ease of handling and personal preferences for technology, shape and colour.
Each style is often referred to by its short form – such as “CIC” or “BTE” – so we’ve included the full name and the short form for reference.
- Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC)
- Invisible-in-the-Canal (IIC)
- In-the-Canal (ITC)
- In-the-Ear (ITE)
- Behind-the-Ear (BTE)
- Receiver-in-the-Ear / Receiver-in-Canal (RITE or RIC)
- Extended wear (Lyric)
- Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHA)
Hearing aid manufacturers
There are 24 different hearing aid manufacturers worldwide and each company produces several lines or models of hearing aids. This results in a competitive industry with each manufacturer striving to produce the best product. Some hearing clinics are owned by a manufacturer, and mainly offer their parent company’s hearing aids.
Because Broadmead and Oak Bay Hearing Clinics are independently owned, we can offer the latest technology from all manufacturers. This allows us to focus on the hearing aid recommendation that is best for you.
Popular Hearing Aid Brands
If you have questions about hearing aids our Audiologists would be happy to explain more about hearing aids. Contact us at Broadmead: 250.479.2969 or Oak Bay: 250.479.2921.