A hearing aid is designed to amplify sounds from the immediate environment. It is used by people who suffer hearing impairment. This electroacoustic device typically fits within or behind the ear and modulates sound. Disposable hearing aids function on the strength of a long-life, permanently-fitted battery.
Hearing aids or ear-trumpets are passive gadgets, that are developed to gather sound energy from the surrounding environment, and direct it within the ear canal. Also called cochlear implants, these are designed to help those who have lost their sense of hearing, either in the natural course of aging, as a result of a prolonged illness, or on account of an accident. There are different types of such devices easily available, of varying circuitry, sizes, and power. The amplified sound waves help the hard-of-hearing person to pick up verbal communication and other sounds more clearly.
Each of the different types are fitted with a:
- Microphone, to pick up sounds in the environment.
- Amplifier, to increase sound strength.
- Receiver, to deliver the sound picked up within the ear canal.
- Filters, to block out background noise whenever required, or minimize feedback sound.
- Battery, to power the device.
A hearing aid could either be monaural or designed for one ear, or binaural, a design that fits around both ears. The different types are categorized as digital, in-the-canal, in-the-ear, behind-the-ear, or on-the-body. The terms are all self-explanatory, referring to the preferred location for the device. Today, their designs have come a long way. The digital versions are very sophisticated. Some are designed to borrow computer technology to customize the requirement of a specific hearing loss pattern.
Disposable hearing aids are devices powered by a battery or a power cell. However, in a disposable design, the battery or cell is fitted permanently within the aid. This makes it possible to discard the device, once it runs out of battery power, and fit another one, within or around the ear. They are specifically engineered to save on power. The technology involves the use of battery power for much longer than the traditional aids.
Being disposable, they also eliminate the task of battery replacement and related maintenance chores such as cleaning and adjusting. Most of them are digital and can be bought either online or offline. They also come in designs that allow the wearer to intentionally boost certain frequencies via dedicated adjustments. They come with special screens to tune into personal conversations and block out the background sounds, and with program settings that address amplification of specific noises within the environment.
In-the-ear hearing aids are lightweight devices, devoid of visible wires or tubes. They are programmed to control tone and volume and are very helpful for people suffering from mild hearing loss. The in-canal aids fit far within the ear canal. They are easily removed via the small transparent wire that rests in the external ear region. The behind-ear versions are connected to the ear-mold via a plastic tube. The fitting is programmed with tone and volume control and doesn’t require much maintenance.
They are easily interchangeable and very easy to handle. Not only do they provide optimum sound quality, but are extremely reliable too. They can also be attached to clothing. They come in colors that range from the brightest shades of reds and blues, to the most inconspicuous skin tones of fawn and brown. The materials used are all environment friendly and offer relief from occlusion.