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Hearing Aids for Deaf People

Posted Dec 10 2010 9:38am
Hearing aid technology has improved significantly in the last decade. Almost all hearing aids used today are digital; sound goes into a microphone and is digitally processed by a chip, amplified, then sent to the ear. Digital technology allows the aids to be programmed for an individual's exact hearing loss needs — a big improvement from the old-fashioned analog varieties that were little more than an amplifier with a volume control.

IT is an electronic, battery-operated device that amplifies and changes sound to allow for improved communication. Hearing aids receive sound through a microphone, which then converts the sound waves to electrical signals. The amplifier increases the loudness of the signals and then sends the sound to the ear through a speaker.

The first hearing aids were mechanical resonating devices that included tubes and horns of various sizes. A hearing aid that has some type of level-dependent signal processing is termed a nonlinear hearing aid. Most nonlinear hearing aids reduce gain as input or output levels increase.

Any child with a verifiable hearing loss of any extent is a candidate for amplification. A combination of objective electrophysiologic tests and behavioral tests are usually needed to determine the degree, type, and configuration of the hearing loss when evaluating a young child.

With all very young children, the hearing aid evaluation and fitting process should be ongoing. Children need to be monitored on a regular basis to determine if the fit of the hearing aid is appropriate and if the aid is set for maximum aided results.

Hearing instrument styles

Ultra-small behind-the-ear (BTE)-An ultra-small Behind-The-Ear (BTE) style is lightweight and sits snugly behind the ear. It connects to the ear with a nearly invisible thin tube which inserted in the ear canal. These instruments are ideal for style-conscious, first time and experienced wearers and fits mild to severe hearing loss.

Traditional behind-the-ear (BTE)-A traditional BTE is worn comfortably behind the ear while amplified sound travels down a tube to a customized earmold that fits securely into the ear. Because they are larger size they can accommodate a bigger battery for longer life and larger amplifiers for maximum amplification. BTEs are compatible with most assistive listening devices and suitable for mild to profound hearing losses.

In-the-ear (ITE)-ITEs are custom-made to fit securely in your ear. Available in a variety sizes from full-shell ITEs, to smaller In-The-Canal (ITC) styles, to the tiny Completely-In-the-Canal (CIC) styles. They are suitable for mild to severe hearing losses.

Crossover- A crossover style will change everything you thought you knew about hearing instruments. It's barely seen, barely felt, sounds incredibly natural, and it's ready when you are. The crossover is designed for people with mild to moderately-severe hearing loss.
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