Choosing a hearing aid
Selecting hearing aid with the appropriate features will depend on many factors. It is important to consult a hearing healthcare professional who can offer recommendations and advice to help you choose the hearing aid that is best for your hearing loss and lifestyle. Remember that no hearing aid style is better than another: It is simply a matter of choosing the one that’s right for you.
Before choosing a style that is right for you, you should consider these factors:
- Degree and frequencies of hearing loss – Not all styles are appropriate for all hearing losses
- Functionality – If special features, such as directional microphones, are required, a smaller hearing aid will not be large enough to house this feature
- Ear anatomy – Some ear canals are very tiny, making it almost impossible to fit a CIC (Completely In the Canal) type of hearing aids
- Lifestyle needs – If you enjoy being outdoors, you may require a different aid than someone who enjoys the symphony
- Manual dexterity – ITC (In The Canal) and CIC hearing aids are easy to insert but require steady hands
- Cosmetic preferences – With the range of sizes, styles and colors available, it is simply a matter of choosing what you prefer
- Cost – Hearing aids are available in a wide range of prices, so there’s something for every budget.
How does the ear work?
The ear is a much more complicated organ than one might think. The outer part of the ear that we see is just a sound collector. Most of the auditory anatomy is invisible. The ear consists of three main parts: the outer, middle and inner ear.
The outer ear collects sound and directs it to the ear canal. Sound vibrations cause the tympanic membrane and a chain of three tiny bones (middle ear) to move. The middle ear system serves to intensify the energy of sound vibrations and to transmit them to the cochlea (inner ear).
Inside the cochlea are thousands of tiny nerve cells called hair cells that are connected to the fibers of the auditory nerve. The sound vibrations that reach the cochlea cause the waves of fluid in the spiral inner ear, which further leads to the appearance of electrical impulses that travel through the auditory nerve to the brain, which recognizes these impulses as sound.
What are some of the most common causes of hearing loss?
- Hearing loss affects people of all ages and occurs for many different reasons. More than 90% of hearing losses are due to the natural process of aging or to exposure to excessive noise levels at work or elsewhere.
- Hearing loss may be hereditary or occur in an unborn child as a result of an illness contracted by the mother during pregnancy.
- Some hearing losses are caused by injuries to the head/neck, chronic ear infections or exposure to certain types of drugs.
- Hearing loss can also be caused by excess cerumen (earwax), a cyst growing in the ear canal or a foreign object lodged in the ear. In such cases normal hearing can often be fully restored through medical attention, provided that there are no additional complications.
Symptoms of hearing loss
If you experience any of the following symptoms you may have a hearing loss and should contact either your doctor or hearing care professional to have your hearing tested:
- Difficulty hearing high pitched sounds such as women’s and children’s voices and birds singing
- It seems as people are mumbling
- You often find that you need to strain to hear what people are saying
- You no longer hear your watch ticking or water running
- Difficulty understanding speech that originates far away, such as in concert halls, theaters or churches
- Difficulty hearing television or voices on the telephone
- Difficulty hearing the telephone ring
- Difficulty understanding people when you are in a group or in the presence of background noise, such as at social gatherings or in traffic
- You are tempted to avoid social gatherings and other situations where you might feel embarrassed about misunderstanding others
- You often ask others to repeat themselves because you have trouble understanding them
- Your family and friends mention that you may have a hearing loss
Types of hearing loss and common causes
There are three types of hearing loss, which differ in which part of the hearing system is damaged:
- Conductive hearing loss – can be caused by a number of factors such as accumulated cerumen, infections or growths in the outer ear, perforation of the eardrum, a disease called otosclerosis (which makes the bones become fixed and thus prevents them from vibrating) or genetic reasons.
- Sensoryneural hearing loss – a term used to describe problems in the inner ear, the auditory nerve, or both. This form of hearing impairment is most often the result of worsening of the condition of hair cells in the cochlea due to aging and / or exposure to noise, but it can also be caused by head injuries, genetics, diseases, tumors or the consumption of certain strong drugs. Ninety percent of all hearing impairments are sensorineural. This form of hearing problem can rarely be cured medically but fortunately hearing aids can help.
- Mixed hearing loss – a combination of conductive and sensoryneural hearing impairment.
There is no general pattern for hearing impairments and hearing aids. Just as you wouldn’t wear someone else’s glasses so you shouldn’t even wear someone’s hearing aid. It is very important that you have a hearing aid that is suitable and adjusted just for your hearing impairment and according to your hearing needs.
Hearing Aids Types
Hearing aids fit almost completely inside the ear canal, which makes them very discreet. That is why they are very attractive to use. They are suitable for mild to moderate hearing damage.
Hearing aids fit almost completely inside the ear canal, which makes them very discreet. They have more space to accommodate those options that cannot be accommodated on “CIC” hearing aids. They are suitable for mild to moderate hearing damage.
Hearing aids fit securely in the outer ear, ensuring optimal performance and comfort. They leave enough space for additional options, e.g. for direct microphones or special switches used to use the phone. These hearing aids are suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss.
Hearing aids are placed behind the ear. Amplified sounds pass through the tube into the olive, which is securely placed in the outer ear canal. These hearing aids are especially suitable for your different hearing needs. They have a longer battery life and most can be used with other hearing aids. These hearing aids are suitable for mild to severe hearing damage.
Hearing aids have a discreet, thin tube that directs sound into your ear, giving you a cleaner and more natural sound feel. With these ultra-small in-ear hearing aids, you get a digital hearing aid of the most advanced technology in a sophisticated package. These devices are suitable for clients with mild to severe hearing impairments who want a discreet hearing aid with all its features and functions.
In our production and sales program in the field of hearing aids, we offer products from Bernafon and Unitron.
Bernafon is a pioneer in the hearing aid industry, with the constant development of new hearing technology. In addition to its headquarters for research and development in Bern, Switzerland, there is a network of companies and independent distributors worldwide. Bernafon’s mission, which has lasted for more than 60 years, is to help people with hearing impairments communicate around the world.
Since 1964, Unitron, an independent brand of the Swiss Sonova Group, has been improving the quality of life of people with hearing impairments. Headquartered in Kitchener, Canada – a geographic science and academic center in the global hearing aid industry, Unitron provides hearing aids to 17 national offices and distributors in another 52 countries.