Hearing Aids Overview

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Hearing Aids

Hearing aid technology has advanced greatly over the last few decades.

If you are in the market for hearing aids, you will surely find the device that best fits your hearing needs, lifestyle, and budget. With such vast options in new hearing instrument technology, choosing the best option may be a bit of a challenge. Eartone Hearing Aid Center will work with you every step of the way to ease the process of finding what device fits your hearing health and needs the best. Although we will be there to assist you, understanding some hearing aid basics before getting the process started is helpful. Visit us to learn more about hearing aids in San Mateo, CA.

Hearing Aid Styles

Hearing aids contain three basic mechanisms: microphone, amplifier, and speaker/receiver.

These components are placed on the hearing instruments in various locations, depending on the style. The internal wiring systems also varies by type. The majority of hearing aid manufacturers generally use the same three or four letter acronym to describe a hearing device style, which refer to the way the hearing device looks, feels, and fits, rather than its technology or feature.

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It is important to know that not all styles are suitable for all degrees of hearing loss. See below for the six major types of hearing aids available in the market:

Hearing Aid Parts

Invisible-In-Canal (IIC)
Invisible-In-Canal are custom molded to fit fully inside your ear canal. With the IIC style, it is often completely invisible to other people.

Completely-In-Canal (CIC)
Completely-In-Canal are also custom molded and fit fully inside your ear canal. Unlike the IIC style, the CIC type hearing device includes a tiny handle that sticks out of the ear canal for quick removal.

In-The-Ear (ITE)
In-The-Canal hearing instruments differ from IIC and CIC devices as a portion of the hearing aid straddles toward the outer ear. ITC units are visible, yet discreet.

In-The-Ear (ITE)
In-The-Ear hearing instruments, custom molded like IIC and CIC, differ from those two as the majority of the device sits within the outer ear of the user, while only a small portion of it fits within the ear canal.

Receiver-In-Canal (RIC)
Receiver-In-Canal hearing aids differ from other styles as the technology to pick up sounds sits behind the outer ear. A thin metal wire connects to an ear bud or receiver that sits in the ear canal.

Behind-The-Ear (BTE)
Behind-The-Ear style hearing devices are quite similar to RIC instruments. The major difference between them is that BTE type hearing aids uses plastic tubing instead of metal to connect to the receiver within the ear canal.

Hearing Aid Technology and Features

Many manufacturers have introduced different series of hearing aids where the various styles share the same features. Below are a few of the available technologies and features that most hearing aids today offer.
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Speech Recognition Technology

The newest and latest hearing aids on the market today all include some form of technology that helps improve speech understanding. These technologies help those with hearing loss make conversing with others an easier and more enjoyable experience. With such a diverse range of manufacturers in the hearing aid market, each have created and patented their own technology in effectively providing speech understanding to hearing aid users.
Tinnitus Therapy

Tinnitus Therapy Technology

Many of those who face hearing loss also experience tinnitus, a strong ringing or buzzing in one or both ears. Many hearing aid manufacturers have incorporated new tinnitus therapy technologies to help combat this issue by masking those sounds.
Direct Cognitive Technology

Direct Connectivity Technology

As we’ve entered the technological age where streaming is available, many people with hearing loss are also seeking out hearing aids that have direct connectivity technology. With direct connectivity, hearing aid wearers have the ability to stream music and even conversations from their smartphone or tablet directly to their hearing aids. Hearing instrument manufacturers today may offer special streaming devices, utilization of Bluetooth technology, or even have product where hearing aid users are able stream directly to the hearing aids without any additional technology or devices.
Rechargeable Hearing Aids

Rechargeable Hearing Aids

Like with our smartphones, tablets, or laptops, rechargeable hearing aid options are also available. The popularity of such devices has grown substantially over the years. The majority of hearing instrument manufacturers today offer at least one if not more options for rechargeable hearing devices. One could charge the hearing aids overnight and that would allow for a full day of usage.