Hearing Aid Basics.
Styles, Types, & Circuit Choices.

 

There are two basic components to a hearing aid. First is the hearing aid circuit, and second the hearing aid style.

Circuits

Hearing aid circuits (the electronics in each hearing aid) are divided into four (4) basic classes of technology. Generally, the higher the level of technology, the better the hearing aid will perform in a wider variety of environments. The four basic levels of technology are:

       1.Digital
       2. Programmable Analog
       3. Advance Class "D"
       4. Basic Class "A"

Digital Hearing Aids

This circuit type is available in all styles of hearing aids. This type of aid is the most common fitted circuit today. Basically, a digital hearing aid uses a computer chip and other advanced electronics to amplify sound. This aid is programmed while in the wearers ear. Because of this, it can be finely tuned to personal likes and lifestyle. Because the computer chip can be reprogrammed or changed (just like a computer) this circuit is very adaptable to many hearing losses. Also, as your hearing may change over time, the "prescription" in this hearing aid may also be adjusted. This easy adjustability should then allow for better hearing over a longer period of time than lower classes of technology.  The following is a diagram of a common digital hearing aid circuit.


There are many varibles and options to digital hearing aid circuits. Usually multiple channels of compression and bands of amplification along with options such as special algorithms to enhance speech-in-noise, compress loud sounds, automatic feedback (whistling) cancellation and de-emphasize low level ambient noises. These features make wearing hearing aids much more comfortable to wear and hear in a wider range of environments. Also, automatic volume control works very well with this type of hearing instrument.

Programmable Analog Hearing Aids
This hearing aid circuit option is available in all styles. This hearing aid circuit uses a conventional Class "D" analog type amplifier, yet is adjustable using computer programming equipment. With the introduction of full digital hearing aid circuits this circuit isn't as common as it once was.

Advanced Class "D" Analog Hearing Aids

This hearing aid circuit option is very popular and is available in all styles, although it performs best in a In-the-Ear or In-the-Canal hearing aid style. This type of aid may allow for high & low frequencies to be adjusted independently. Long battery life and lower costs are the primary benefit of this type of circuit.

Basic Class"A" Hearing Aids
This type of hearing aid circuit is the oldest type of hearing aid electronic circuit available. Many times you will see this circuit advertised for very low prices. We have seen this advertised for as low as $299 or $399 per aid. Basically, this advertising is just a "come on". Class "A" hearing aids amplify most sounds equally. Poor hearing performance in the presence of background noise and understanding speech in groups usually makes this circuit a poor choice for most people with hearing loss. We consider this level of technology obsolete. Manan Hearing does not dispense this type of hearing aid.

Styles

Styles or shell style are what the hearing aids look like. Basically their are 4 diffrent styles of hearing aids.

  1. Completely-In-Canal (CIC)
  2. In-The-Canal (ITC)
  3. In-The Ear (ITE)
  4. Behind-The-Ear (BTE)

1. Completely-in-the-Canal or CIC hearing aid style

CIC hearing aidCIC in the ear CIC in ear
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This style of hearing aid is the smallest and is commonly advertised that is "So small that no one will even notice your wearing it". This style fits completely into the ear canal. The microphone is shielded from wind noise. This style is the best choice when you desire a descrete aid or are outdoors alot. Uses a size #10 battery.


2. In the Canal or ITE style hearing aid.

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This style of hearing aid is very popular. It's smaller than most, but uses a slightly larger battery than the smaller CIC style. Uses a size #312 battery.


3. In-The-Ear or ITE style hearing aid.

ITEInEar.jpg
This style is the most popular. The aid fills the bowl of the ear. It uses a larger size 13 battery. Ease of handling and greater volume potential make this style a great choice. Usually uses a size #13 battery.

4. Behind-The-Ear or BTE style hearing aid.

BTEInEar.jpg
This aid rests behind the ear, a small clear tube connects to an earmold in the bowl of the outer ear. The primary benefits of this style are greater volume potential than any other style and durability. Uses a size #13 or #675 battery.

For more information contact us at info@mananhearing.com