How to choose a hearing aid.

Severe hearing loss is a warning sign that it may be time for you to see an audiologist as soon as possible. Do not postpone a visit to a specialist - even mild primary symptoms can lead to deafness in the future. The hearing aid can be used from the moment the hearing threshold exceeds 35 dB. This will allow you not to limit your social circle and lead a familiar way of life, without infringing upon yourself in anything and without experiencing stress, because modern hearing aids, with the right selection, can greatly facilitate the life of their owner. The ingenious invention of engineering is a real salvation for very, very many people. If you are concerned about the pressing question of how to choose a hearing aid, in our article you will find basic recommendations on this matter.

Hearing aid - digital or analog?

The first hearing aid looked like a horn (or horn) that was inserted into the ear with a narrow end. Since then, technology has made great strides forward. Hearing aids are now classified into analog and more modern digital hearing aids.

Analogue (linear) hearing aids are becoming less common today. The principle of their work is that they amplify all incoming sounds with the same power, without highlighting voices or softening noises. Such simple devices are inexpensive, but this is perhaps their main advantage.

Digital hearing aids offer superior sound quality and intelligibility. Such a device changes all sounds to a certain sequence of numbers, which are then processed by a high-speed processor in thousandths of a second. After that, the digital code is again converted into a sound signal, adjusted taking into account the individual characteristics of the patient. It is important that such devices are resistant to various types of electromagnetic radiation, and therefore allow you to use a mobile phone, laptop and other technical devices without restrictions.

Advantages and disadvantages of analog and digital hearing aids

Type of hearing aidHow it worksLocationAdvantagesDisadvantages
Analogue (Linear)The audio signal is converted to an electrical signal. Then it is amplified or changed depending on the capabilities of a particular deviceBehind-the-ear, pocketLow cost. Due to its simple design, it is less prone to breakage. Suitable also for patients with ENT problems (otitis media, etc.)Morally outdated models. Poor sound quality, often distorted by noise. Massive

The audio signal is converted into a digital code. Then it is processed by a computer program, taking into account all the characteristics of hearing of a particular personBehind the ear, in the earThe most perfect type of hearing aid today. High sound quality and intelligibility. Even weak sounds are made distinguishable, and strong sounds are softened. Suppression of noise. Automatic change of settings depending on the situation (street, concert hall, conversation, etc.). Compactness. Efficiency. Short period of user adaptation to the deviceHigh price. In-the-ear models are not recommended for patients with ENT problems

Hearing aids by design and location

Typically, the hearing aid is placed behind the ear or directly in the ear channel. Depending on the design and place of use, the devices are divided into behind-the-ear, in-ear and outdated type - pocket.

1. Behind-the-ear hearing aids (designated by the English abbreviation BTE)

Behind-the-ear devices, as the name implies, are located behind the ear. A sound-conducting tube with a special earmold extends to the ear. It is one of the most popular hearing aids because of its high power and the ability to fit firmly and securely. The BTE device is suitable for people of all ages, it is unpretentious in maintenance and is characterized by simplicity and ease of use. The standard size of such a hearing aid is 45-55 mm, but there are also very miniature (up to 25 mm) models.

2. In-the-ear hearing aids

Most devices of the in-the-ear type are located in the ear canal and partially in the auricle. The body of such a device is made according to an impression of the ear canal for each specific patient. All electronic components of the circuit are mounted taking into account the individual anatomical features of the user. Any ITE is custom made. This device is almost invisible to a stranger, and therefore is perfect for socially active individuals who are not indifferent to their appearance and the impression they make on others.

  • One type of such device is the in-ear hearing aid (CIC), which is located entirely inside the ear canal. It provides perfect wearing comfort. Indispensable in case of II-III degree of hearing loss.
  • Slightly larger - mini-channel (MIC) and channel (ITC) hearing aids. They are also subtle and have good sound quality. Compensate for II-III degree of hearing loss.
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  • Some patients, with the help of an audiologist, opt for a full ear hearing aid (ITE). It is located inside the auricle and is able to compensate for a high degree of hearing loss (III-IV). Well suited for older people as it has a convenient volume control and is very reliable.

3. Pocket versions of hearing aids

These are increasingly rare and are represented mainly by analog models. They are rather bulky (about the size of a cigarette pack) and are connected to the user's ear with an electric cord.

Important Hearing Aid Features

When choosing a hearing aid, please note the following important points:

  • Adequate power output (this should be selected so that hearing can continue decline).
  • Number of channels (affects the quality of the frequency range tuning).
  • Compression system (amplification of sounds of varying intensity, and both quiet and loud sounds will be comfortable).
  • Noise cancellation system (some devices are even capable of amplifying speech with noise effects).
  • Microphone system (better if they will be guided automatically in response to the acoustic environment).

These and other parameters of the hearing aid will be helped by a qualified audiologist who is involved in the selection of the required type of hearing aid.