Hearing aid technology has long surpassed the traditional wired varieties. Today, hearing aids are as small and inconspicuous as you want them to be. The improvisations aim at enabling the person suffering hear loss, to cope with the situation without the support gadgetry being too overbearing.
A hearing aid is an apparatus that is fitted either behind the ear or within the outer ear canal, to amplify sound. The electro-acoustic device helps to modulate sounds for the hearing impaired. The designs have come a long way since the passive funnels that were previously used to direct sound energy into the ear canal. Today, the bone anchored and cochlear implants make it possible for the device to be completely out of view, while consistently amplifying sound via state of the art circuitry.
Hearing aids are available in different sizes and dimensions. There are aids that rest at the back of the outer ear, and those that fit in the outer ear region or concha. The other design models include devices that are fitted within the ear canal, ultra fine open-fit devices, programmable and adjustable varieties, disposable hearing aids, bone-anchored variants, and eyeglass aids. There are wireless hearing aids that incorporate FM listening systems, Bluetooth, wireless microphones that can eliminate background noise and be connected to a TV or stereo.
Directional microphones are devised to regulate the signal to noise ratio and subsequently improve speech clarity. These can be customized to accommodate directional and omnidirectional microphones. Telecoils or T-coils are also used in some devices. This technology allows audio sources to be connected directly to the hearing aid. This is powered by induction coils placed in electromagnetic fields. This technology compulsorily includes the use of a microphone, receiver, battery, and some sort of electronic circuitry.
Analog or adjustable control hearing aids, incorporate the use of an audio circuit fitted with electronic components. These analog components are pre-programmed according to the specifications emphasized by the otolaryngologist. The analog components are either adjusted with small external controls or via variants built into the design. The adjustable circuitry allows the wearer to adjust volume.
Analog hearing aids are created along the paradigms of the patented design (2,017,358), earned by Samuel Gordon Taylor, in 1932. The audio circuit can be programmed with more than one adjustment. The electronic control circuitry within an analog hearing aid, can be connected to an external computer, temporarily. The device is activated by either pressing buttons on the device itself, or on a remote control. The modern versions also enable automatic control circuitry operations.
Digital hearing aids are also referred to as programmable hearing aids. In these devices, both the audio and additional control circuits, are completely digitized. It is externally programmed on a computer connected to the device. This enables the design to exhibit processing characteristics that are totally customized. The digital circuitry makes it possible for additional features to be implemented when and as desired. These are by far the most flexible designs in the market. They can be programmed with multiple adjustments that operate adaptively and automatically.
These hearing devices reduce acoustic feedback and background noise automatically, while detecting and adjusting to a different listening environment. They can be fitted to accommodate additional control components, such as microphones that catch transpose frequencies. The digital circuitry enables wireless transmission to preserve the spatial hearing ability of the hearing impaired, while being modified for use within circuitry of mobile telephones, Internet connectivity, and personal music players.