The Best Hearing Aid Technology
Digital technology has revolutionized hearing aids, and now there are types of hearing aids that will adapt to any situation. Not only are these hearing aids designed to reduce distracting background noises, but they can also have Bluetooth capabilities--- meaning you can operate your cell phone or even listen to your MP3s with ease with the use of a special hearing aid accessory or “Made for iPhone/Android” hearing aid technology. Because Raleigh Capitol ENT is independently owned, we are able to offer a variety of hearing aid options without an obligation to a certain brand or type. This allows us to concentrate on what type of technology is best suited to fit our patients’ needs.
Following is some useful information about the various types of hearing aids available, as well as the advantages of each. Please speak with your physician and audiologist to determine which is best for you.
Digital Hearing Aids
Digital hearing aids are the latest and most advanced technology available. They are assembled at a manufacturing lab and then programmed by the audiologist in our office using special software. Because of the numerous controls that are available through programming software, hearing aid manufacturers have been able to incorporate significantly advanced technology into these devices. These advancements include features such as noise reduction, directional microphones, feedback suppression, digital speech enhancement and built-in wireless capabilities.
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5 Main Hearing Aid Styles
- Completely-in-the-canal (CITC)
- In-the-canal (ITC)
- In-the-ear (ITE)
- Behind-the-ear (BTE)
- Receiver-in-the-ear/Receiver-in-the-canal (RITE/RITC)
Virtually all of the available technologies can be obtained in any hearing aid style. The hearing instruments are categorized by levels of technology: premium, mid-level and basic. Typically, the level of technology inside the hearing aid is what influences the cost. The audiologist can help you chose the hearing instrument that is appropriate for your lifestyle.
Despite their stylistic differences, all hearing instruments have the following components:
- an amplifier
- a receiver (where the sound is produced)
- a battery
Hearing Aid Features to Review
Automatic and manual multiple programs
Most hearing instruments are designed to adapt the volume to different listening situations. Modern hearing instruments automatically select an optimal volume level without the need for further adjustments.
However, many hearing aids still have the option of manually controlling the volume or memory programs. These controls can be activated by a button on the hearing instrument, via remote or even through your telephone.
Digital noise reduction (DNR)
Noise reduction technology will reduce irritating noises such as rattling dishes or background chatter without compromising speech. DNR is usually accompanied by directional microphones.
Directional microphones are useful in noisy situations. These microphones emphasize the signal you want to hear and ignore competing noise. Both digital noise reduction and directional microphones have been some of the most substantial advances in hearing aid technology, and they help patients who have difficulty hearing when there is a significant amount of background noise.
Feedback cancellation systems help quell the annoying squeals caused when the hearing instruments are too loose or when too close to the phone.
Built-in wireless capabilities
Hearing aids often come with built-in wireless capabilities such as Bluetooth, direct audio input, FM systems or telecoil features that allow hands-free use of cell and regular phones. Direct audio input means hearing aids can connect directly to MP3 players or other audio devices.
Many hearing aids are equipped to connect with Bluetooth or other audio devices, FM systems, or telecoil features. This can allow hands-free use of cellular and landline phones, or direct connection to MP3 players, computers, or tablets. Ask your audiologist about wireless hearing aid technology and accessories to learn more.
:: Schedule an appointment to check your hearing and get fitted for a hearing aid. ::