The fast moving pace of technology is something that’s affected every part of our lives. There are smartphones, tablets and driverless cars that make living in the modern world a lot easier. But the world of modern technological wonder is not just limited to the obvious everyday devices. Digital hearing aids are devices that help those with some level of hearing loss. However, the way these devices work is very smart, and is a technology that is practically revolutionary for the hard-of-hearing.

So, to help you understand what they are and how they work, here’s a brief run down of the different types of digital hearing aids.

Digital hearing aid

Image courtesy of Storyblocks.

What Is A Digital Hearing Aid?

Some will be familiar with the term “digital recording” or “digitally remastered” on our music CDs. It does not mean a great deal for most people, but it is a method of enhancing the playback sound. A digital hearing aid uses a similar technology, in that it picks up sound and digitizes it.

When sound is digitized, it is broken up into small units– basically, turned into binary. The analogue hearing aid works in a different way by expanding the soundwave to make the noise amplified. In other words, it transmits sound much louder. Digital hearing aids do much the same, but in a different way.

Some of the more sophisticated digital hearing aids actually have a smart feature that learns which noises to filter out. Soft tones like a low conversation are amplified, where the loud unwanted noises are neutralized. One of the most impressive features about a digital hearing aid is its computation ability. It can program itself to adjust to the current sound environment thousands of times every second. There are several different types of digital hearing aids. Some of the more sophisticated devices can actually be programed or altered to suit the hearing needs of the individual.

Types of Digital Hearing Aids

Digital hearing aids come in many forms. Different styles and sizes, each to suit the wearer, are available at varying costs. Manufacturers of hearing aids have been creating different kinds for years, so that anyone can have a hearing aid if they need one. That’s especially the case when it comes to size. Back in the day, the original hearing aids really were those long tubes that looked like trumpets! As time went by, the designs became smaller and used electronic signalling instead of just magnifying sound as much as possible.

Digital hearing aids are revolutionary in design and technology and have added new functionality. The advances do mean the cost of these devices is a lot more than analogue hearing aids. Whether the hearing aid is fitted inside the ear canal or behind the ear, the cost is pretty much the same. When you have your hearing test, your audiologist can talk you through the different kinds, and you can pick which kind you like.

Here is a list of all the digital hearing aids on the market:

  • Behind the Ear Hearing Aids – This device consists of an ear mould, tube and a case. The case is positioned behind the ear with the tube emitting down the front and into the ear mould. The BTE devices are suitable for persons with profound hearing loss.
  • Open or RIC – RIC (Receiver in Canal) focuses on comfort and discretion. They appear to be similar in design to the hearing aids which sit behind the ear (BTE). However, there is a crucial difference: the ear mould is substituted with a dome that does not block or muffle in the ear canal.
  • ITE (In the Ear Hearing Aids) – These devices fit within the full shell of the ear. This style is best for those with significant hearing loss, as it delivers a greater dynamic than found in a smaller device that fits in the ear.
  • In the Canal Hearing Aids – ITC hearing aids are much smaller and fit in the bottom half of the ear’s concha. These aids are less prominent than an ITE and are suitable for slight to medium hearing loss. These are a popular choice for those wishing to have a custom-fitted hearing device. As only half the ear is used, the remaining part is free to move around comfortably. There is also a natural feel to this hearing aid style.
  • Completely in the Ear Hearing Aids – As far as visual appearance is concerned, these are totally invisible. It would take a person to look directly in the ear to see this device. There are some drawbacks to the CIC aid: battery life being the most problematic feature.
  • Invisible in the Canal – IIC. A trained audiologist will need to take an impression of the ear before an IIC hearing aid can be fitted.

Why Not Get In Touch?

The Sandia Hearing Aid Center in Colorado Springs isn’t just a shop where you can buy devices. The centre provides a host of services to those suffering from some form of hearing loss. We can help you check out the extent of your hearing loss with our tests. Our audiologists and other medical professionals will guide you through the process from start to finish, and help you pick which kind of hearing aid is right for you. And if you have any more questions about ear health, all you have to do is ask. For now, if there’s anything else you need to know, you can always check the rest of our blog. We post regular updates each month on hearing loss and hearing aids. If you have any quickfire questions, you’ll probably be able to find the answers there.

We’re only a phone call away if you want to get in touch. You can call us at 719-634-6260 or fill in a contact form through our site. When we get your message, or when you call us, one of our friendly staff will guide you through everything you need to know.