What do Hearing Aids Do?
Hearing aids assist people who experience hearing loss by amplifying sound and delivering clear signals to the brain. These small electronic devices are jam-packed with sophisticated technology, with wireless options and fast processing chips.
Hearing aids mirror the natural process of hearing. They pick up and receive sound, amplify these sounds, and convert them into a clearer signal to be registered by our brains.
Styles of Hearing Aids
All hearing aids consist of the same parts, but the ways they are designed and worn differ depending on the style. Hearing aids consist of a microphone, amplifier, battery unit, processing system, and volume/program control, and ear mold. There are two main categories of hearing aid styles: in-the-ear (ITE) and behind-the-ear (BTE).
ITE hearing aids include full shell and half shell models, which sit on the surface of the ear. There are also more discreet options, such as in-the-canal, completely-in-canal, and invisible-in-canal hearing aids. These are inserted deeper in the ear canal and are not noticeable. ITE hearing aids tend to treat lower levels of hearing loss. While they are discreet, they may be difficult to control if the wearer experiences dexterity issues.
BTE hearing aids consist of two main parts: a plastic case housing electronic components, which is worn over the ear and ear molds which sit within the ear and receive sound. BTE hearing aids are often quite small and are also powerful, treating varying degrees of hearing loss. They may be inconvenient for people who wear eyeglasses.
Receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids are similar to BTE hearing aids in appearance, but differ in that the receiver is situated in the ear canal.
Hearing Aid Manufacturers
At Sound Solutions, we offer a number of hearing aids from leading manufacturers around the globe.
Oticon is a Danish manufacturer of hearing aids, known for their BrainHearing Technology. BrainHearing Technology consists of features to support the brain in the auditory process, including speech recognition and the flexibility to focus on different sounds in any environment. Oticon’s latest hearing aid is the Opn (pronounced “open”).
Siemens, a German manufacturer, recently produced the first hearing aid to outperform normal hearing in challenging listening environments. The Siemens binax hearing aid, an incredibly powerful instrument, uses shared data from both hearing aids in a network of microphones to simulate binaural hearing. Siemens recently paired up with a sister brand, Signia, to produce the Primax, the latest innovation to build upon the successes of the binax.
ReSound is a Danish manufacturer, known for the “world’s smartest hearing aid,” the LiNX2. LiNX2 is a Made for iPhone hearing aid, and connects wirelessly to Apple devices to increase accessibility for hearing aid wearers. LiNX2 allows wearers to stream phone calls, music, and other media from the iPhone directly to the hearing aid, providing wearers with comfort and natural sound. ReSound also offers a range of hearing instruments to treat severe to profound hearing loss (ENZO2) and pediatric hearing loss (Up Smart).
Starkey is the only American manufacturer of hearing aids and is based in Minnesota. Starkey is known for their Halo 2 and Z Series hearing aids, wireless devices that connect to smartphones to increase accessibility for their wearers. The Halo 2 was awarded a Silver Edison Award in 2015 for its innovation. Starkey’s latest hearing aid is the Muse Made for Life, a family of wireless hearing aids that provide wearers with clarity and comfort, as well as high-definition audio in everyday life.
The Swiss manufacturer Phonak is committed to removing stigma around hearing loss, not stopping “until wearing a hearing aid is as simple as eyeglasses or contact lenses.” Phonak hearing aids are powered by the Venture processing platform, which enhances speech recognition 60% better than previous models. Phonak hearing aids come in many style options, and different technology levels to treat varying degrees of hearing loss from mild to profound.
Widex is a Danish manufacturer of hearing aids, known for producing the world’s first digital ITE hearing aid and for their trademark Widex Sound. Widex hearing aids include the UNIQUE, which handles a wide range of sounds and features a noise reduction program, the DREAM which provides wearers to true-to-life sound, and the ZEN Tinnitus Therapy program, which provides relief for people who experience a ringing in the ears.