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Throughout human history, there have been many instruments used to amplify hearing. In the past century, following World War II, there were major advancements in the field of audiological research. As such, hearing aids began to resemble the devices we use today to treat hearing loss. In recent decades, with advancements in technology, hearing aids have evolved into smarter, sleeker devices. Simply put, hearing aids are small, electronic devices that receive and amplify sound from your environment and direct this amplified sound into your ears.
If you’ve just been fitted for a pair of hearing aids, and you are curious to learn more, we’ve compiled some handy information for getting to know your hearing aids.
How does my hearing aid work?
In many respects, hearing aids mirror the way our ears work: our outer ear picks up sound, which is then sent through the middle ear, which turns the sound wave into vibrations, which are then sent on to the inner ear to be converted into electric signals delivered to the brain to process as sound. With hearing loss, sounds are more difficult to pick up. Hearing aids are used to address this.
Though hearing aids come in many different sizes, shapes, and styles, they share several common components:
- Microphone: picks up sound;
- Amplifier: makes sound louder;
- Receiver: sends amplified sound into ear.
- Battery: provides energy supply.
What are the different hearing aid features?
Whatever the style, behind-the-ear or in-the-ear or invisible-in-canal, etc., all hearing aids offer the same basic features. Microphones amplify the sounds you want to hear, while automatic volume controls amplify selective sounds depending on your hearing loss and minimize sounds that are extraneous.
Background noise may pose a challenge for people with hearing loss. Speech recognition is difficult for people who experience any degree of hearing loss. Hearing aids offer features that eliminate or lessen background noise and boost speech sounds that wearers want to focus on. Some hearing aids offer the option of a telecoil, which allows you to connect to induction loop systems via electromagnetic waves.
Most hearing aids use digital technology that automatically filter and reduce buzzing and whistling and remember your preferred sound settings. These features also help eliminate wind sound, soften loud sounds, and provide a more comfortable and natural listening experience. Additionally, most new hearing aids now have wireless technology that allows you to connect to your smartphones and other electronic devices via Bluetooth.
How are my hearing aids fitted?
When you visit us at Kenwood Hearing Center for a consultation, our team will help you determine the best hearing aid to treat your hearing needs and to fit your aesthetic preferences and lifestyle.
Once hearing aids have become seamlessly incorporated into your life, they may not be the first thing on your mind. That’s their purpose, of course, to amplify sounds and provide you with clear accessibility to the world around you. At the same time, it’s important to remember that they are sophisticated electronic devices which require basic care and maintenance to keep them functioning at their best.
Maintenance Tips for Your Hearing Aids
Avoid moisture: Hearing aids are comprised of sensitive electronic components. Although they are often housed in plastic, exposure to moisture has the potential to damage them. Invest in a dehumidifying unit and don’t forget to remove your aids before showering or exercising!
Clean your hearing aids periodically: From daily wear, your hearing aids may pick up dust, lint, or earwax. This debris may cause damage to your hearing aid by clogging up certain components. Clean your hearing aids carefully with a cloth or tissue.
Store your hearing aids in a safe, dry space: With many small components, hearing aids may prove dangerous for pets and children. If they are in a precarious area, they may get knocked over and damaged. For newer wearers, begin by building in a daily routine to remove and store your hearing aids before bed each night and keep them in the case that we provide you. Usually a night table or dresser are safe places for them. Avoid leaving them in the washroom due to moisture accumulation.
Questions about your hearing aids? Contact us at Kenwood Hearing Center to learn more.