Hearing Aid Features

The Components of a Hearing Aid

The main components of a hearing aid are the microphone, digital signal processing (DSP) chip and receiver. The microphone picks up the acoustic sound around you and sends it to the signal processing chip where the sound is analyzed and converted to a digital signal. Once the sound has been analyzed it then passes through different frequency channels in the hearing aid. It is here that sounds are filtered and for example, speech is separated from noise. At the end of the processing, the digital sound is converted back to an acoustic signal via the receiver, resulting in the correct level of amplification passing into your ear. This is all based on your hearing prescription which is calculated by using your audiogram.

The main variation between different hearing aid types is the positioning of these microphones and receivers and the power of the DSP chip. For example, NHS behind the ear hearing (BTE) aids have the microphone and receiver sitting behind the ear, in the hearing aid, whilst receiver in the canal (RIC) hearing aids have the microphone in the hearing aid behind the ear and the receiver connected inside your ear canal, making RIC hearing aids a smaller device. The different levels of processing available in the DSP chip will affect the cost of the hearing aid

Hearing aid features
  • Feedback Cancellation

  • Compression

  • Noise Reduction

  • Wind suppression

  • Directionality

  • Telecoil Loop System

  • Apps & Bluetooth

  • Remote Care

  • Rechargeable

You may be familiar with the whistling sound that is often associated with hearing aids, particularly the older analogue hearing aids. This whistling sound is also known as feedback and feedback cancellation is the ability of the hearing aid to counteract this feedback.  Feedback usually occurs when sound leaks out of the ear, this can happen with an ill-fitting earmould or if you have ear wax. All digital hearing aids have their own method of dealing with feedback and this can be adjusted by the audiologist.

If you feel your hearing aids are whistling because of ear wax, we can provide professional ear wax removal by microsuction.
As listeners we have a dynamic range of hearing; this is the quietest audible sound up to the most comfortable loudness level, any sounds beyond this become uncomfortably loud. Compression is the ability of the hearing aid to prevent louder sounds from becoming uncomfortably loud. This is quite often the case for people suffering from the balance condition Meniere’s Disease
When we are in a noisy environment such as a party, our ears and ultimately our brain is able to filter out all the sound that isn’t important and still focus on a single conversation. This phenomenon is known as the cocktail party effect. This situation can be challenging for someone with a hearing loss and that is when noise reduction in a hearing aid becomes important. The pattern of speech and the pattern of noise is different and the hearing aid works to separate the two so that you can focus on speech. The noise reduction levels can be made to work more vigorously in different listening environments and this is something your audiologist can tailor.

This is a similar feature to compression and is an important feature for those of you that spend a lot of time outdoors, for example, if you are a golfer.

The structure of our ears (the pinna), their shape, position and that we have two plays a big part when it comes to picking up sound around us. A tiny adjustment to our head position can help us to localise sound. This is why hearing aids can’t entirely replace your ears and hearing but can aim to mimic as closely as possible ‘real-life listening’. This is something to consider when it comes to hearing aid styles. <br> Directionality in the hearing aid is how the hearing aid monitors the sound around you, this can be continuous or fixed. If it is continuous it will monitor the sound around you constantly before focusing on important sounds (omnidirectional). If it is fixed, you are able to focus on the sound in front of you. This is largely dependent on the number of microphones and their positioning.

Public building such as banks and libraries have a loop system in place for those of you with hearing aids and a loop or T setting. Loop systems can be portable such as a neck loop or active around an entire room, such as meeting rooms. If your hearing aid has a loop system it allows you to switch onto this setting wherever you see a loop system sign. The hearing aid picks up the wireless magnetic signal from the loop system and processes this signal. The benefits are that there is no other sound except that which is directed to the loop system, which can be great in places like the theatre. There are again size limitations when it comes to hearing aids; the smaller the aid, the less space there is to accommodate for a loop system, which is often the case for invisible in the canal (IIC) hearing aids

With the majority of us owning smartphones, having greater control over your hearing aids could not be simpler. With hearing aids specifically made for iPhone (MFi), they can be easily paired with your hearing aids via Bluetooth so that you can adjust programmes, loudness levels and even create your own favourite settings without ever having to touch your hearing aids. Android compatible hearing aids offer similar functionality to MFi hearing aids making hearing aids more user friendly than ever before. Because of these advances in technology, you can also find your lost hearing aid by using these apps.

If that isn’t enough, there are a whole host of wireless accessories from personal microphones to TV links to give you a holistic approach to your hearing loss management.

This option allows your audiologist to provide remote care; it is particularly useful if you can’t make it to an appointment, for example, during times of a pandemic. Settings can be adjusted via live video call or forwarded to you to download directly from your smartphone hearing aid app.

If you would like a consultation, please call 03302 23 25 27 or book a hearing assessment today to find out about the best hearing aid solutions for you.

  
Hearing aids require a battery source for them to function. The smaller the hearing aid, the smaller the battery, but depending on your hearing levels a smaller battery will most likely need replacing more often. A lot of hearing aids today also come as a rechargeable option, which means you can charge your hearing aids overnight ready to use the next day.
Find out more about our custom rechargeable hearing aids with artificial intelligence from Starkey, the Livio Edge AI 2400.
 

Did you know that people wait on average TEN years before attending to their hearing?

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