Hearing aids are useful in improving the hearing and speech understanding of people who have hearing loss and assist individuals to hear in both quite and noisy situations. Hearing aid styles differ by size, their placement on or in the ear and the degree to which they amplify sound. There are several factors that should be considered when determining what style is most appropriate for you. Together with your hearing practitioner you will discuss the different styles of hearing aids and which aid would most suit your needs.
There are two types of analog aids:
Analog hearing aids are the most basic level of hearing aid technology. The specifications prescribed by your hearing care professional are built into the hearing aid by the manufacture. Fine tuning can be done manually. With analog hearing aids there are only so much that can be done by your hearing practitioner in terms of adjustments. These hearing aids are least flexible and carry very little adjustment capability.
Programmable analog hearing aids are digitally controlled by a computer. They can be adjusted or modified in the office. This approach can offer a greater degree of adjustment flexibility.
Most hearing aids on the market today use digital technology.
Digital hearing aids take the continuous sound wave and break it into tiny pieces of information. This is called digitizing the signal. All digital hearing aids perform this. The word digital in terms of hearing aid technology refers to the method of how the hearing aid processes sound. The hearing aid has a powerful computer chip that can process sound faster than 100-200 million calculations per second. The more sophisticated the digital hearing instrument, the greater ability to amplify the softest sounds of speech while at the same time minimizing unwanted noise. With the rapid increase of digital technology, manufactures have produced various levels of digital hearing aids from very basic to high end. Advantages of digital technology include a larger accuracy in adjustments and more versatile sound processing.