Evaluation of Hearing Aid Technology
Hearing aid technology has made tremendous changes over the past few decades and continued to evolve. Almost all the new hearing aid fittings today use digital technology, but at the core, it has always been made of primary parts: a power source, receiver, microphone and a processor. The microphone picks and delivers the sound from the environment to the processor which enhances the signal of the hearing aid and passes it to the receiver that moves the amplified signal to the power source that drives the system.
The advancement in technology has transformed these parts into components that are sophisticated. Digital components can perform management tasks, and multiple sounds are processing simultaneously and efficiently. The greater part of hearing aid technology dwell in the processor, modern processors are more programmable than it used to be. It allows hearing aid professionals to fine-tune the characteristic of amplification and customize unique features based on the user needs.
Types of Hearing Aids Technology
Hearing aids differ in their technology and mode of operation. Hearing aid technology comprises of vacuum and large batteries in the early days. Today, computerization digitized sound processing, and microchips are used in designing hearing aid.
Analog technology for hearing aids has been around for many decades; the hearing aids usually have a microchip which is program for the different listening situation. The programming settings of the hearing aids depend on the individual profile hearing loss, level of tolerance for loud sounds, and the speech understanding. It is an underlying technology that offers adjustment capacity that is limited, and it is the least expensive.
This type of hearing aids has an accurate frequency response that is based on an audiogram. It is a middle-grade technology, and the audiologist tells the hearing aid manufacturer the settings to install. The aid amplifies both the speech and the noise in the same way. It is ideal for many types of hearing loss.
This kind of hearing aids uses digitized sound processing which converts sound waves into a digital signal and has all the features of an analog programmable aid. It is the most sophisticated hearing aid technology, and it gives audiologist complete control over sound processing and quality characteristics. Digital hearing aids have a computer microchip that analyzes the signal that determines if the sound is a speech or noise. After which it makes a modification that provides amplified, clear and distortion free signal.
Digital hearing aids are often self-adjusting, and the digital processing allows more flexibility when programming the aid. With this, the sound it transmits matches the particular pattern of hearing loss. It is the most expensive, but it gives many advantages.
Classification of Hearing Aid Technology
Hearing aid technology can either be classified as a basic or advanced hearing aids technology, and it keeps improving to benefit anybody that uses the aids.
Basic hearing aids technology
It requires making some manual adjustment in specific listening situations such as pressing a button on the aids to decrease noise coming from behind or switching a volume control up and down. The processor separates signals coming in from two or more channels thereby processing each channel separately. Basic adjustment aids usually have change which is limited for fine tuning to suit unusual pattern of hearing loss. Listed are the examples of features that come with basic hearing aid technology
- Directional microphone systems
- FM compatibility
- Feedback management systems
- Impulse noise reduction
- Digital noise reduction
Advanced hearing aid technology
With the increase in the level of technology, hearing aids have become more automatic with great features that help to communicate in stressful situations. For instance, instead of making use of two channels for separating sound processing, hearing aids with that features advanced technology can have seven or more channels. It divides the signal into smaller frequency bands which are even and gives a higher resolution of the signal processing. Including the basic hearing aid technology features, advanced hearing aids technology is more likely to offer these set of features.
- Bluetooth compatibility
- Binaural processing
- Data logging
- Learning features
- Wind noise reduction