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Hearing Aids: How Do They Work?

Hearing Aids: How Do They Work?

Hearing loss is incredibly common. Since so many people are affected, it's no surprise that not every case can be treated the same way. Here, we'll explain how hearing aids work and the different styles available to help you make the best choice possible.

Analog vs. Digital

You might think all hearing aids are the same, but that's not the case. Analog hearing aids capture incoming sound, amplify it, and play it through a speaker. They amplify all sound and can often be programmed for different settings.

Digital hearing aids offer the same amplification as analog models but convert sound into numeric codes that account for pitch and volume. This programming is often more advanced, allowing greater flexibility as you move from one place to the next.

Both types of hearing aid technology have unique benefits, including battery life, adaptability, and cost. Additionally, they offer better performance than over-the-counter hearing aids, which are not customized to your unique hearing needs or the shape of your ear.

Hearing Aid Styles

When people are fit for hearing aids, we first have a conversation with the patient and take a thorough look at their history to learn more about their hearing loss. Depending on what we learn, we may recommend:

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids

BTE hearing aids are ideal for any level of hearing loss. These hearing aids are encased in a plastic shell that sits entirely behind the ear. The case connects to a plastic ear mold that sits comfortably inside the inner ear. Since this custom mold can be switched out independently of the hearing aid, BTE hearing aids are great for younger, growing patients.

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids

Like BTE hearing aids, ITE devices work well for those with mild to severe hearing loss. They are made from hard plastic and fit inside the outer ear. Some ITE hearing aids contain telecoils, small magnetic coils that make it easier to hear phone conversations and are compatible with induction loop systems. While ITE devices are a great option for most, they are not recommended for young children.

Canal hearing aids

Canal hearing aids sit inside the ear canal. In-the-canal options are custom made to fit mostly inside the ear canal, while completely-in-canal choices are placed further within. These hearing aids are relatively unnoticeable but may be difficult to adjust and have reduced battery power due to their small size. Accordingly, they are recommended for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss only.

Get Help With Hearing Aids

No matter which hearing aid is right for you, it's important to work with an experienced hearing care provider. We can offer hearing aids tailored to your needs and provide a personalized fit. To learn more, contact us to schedule a hearing evaluation today.

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