Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are equipment or gadgets which aid in hearing. A hearing aid is an electronic apparatus which is to be worn in or behind the wearer’s ear. The device is designed to increase and adapt sound for the user. There were earlier devices known as an “ear trumpet” or “ear horn”, which were passive funnel like amplification cones. These cones are designed to gather sound energy and direct it into the ear canal. There are more similar devices like the bone anchored hearing aid and cochlear implant.

There are many types of hearing instruments which are different in size, power and circuitry. The different types of models are:
• Body Worn Aids
• Behind the ear (BTE) instruments
• In the ear aids (ITE)
• Receiver in the Canal/ Ear (RIC/RITE)
• In the canal (ITC), mini canal (MIC) and completely in the canal aids (CIC)
• Extended wear hearing aids
• Open fit devices
• Personal programmable or consumer programmable
• Disposable hearing aids
• Bone anchored hearing aids(BAHA)
• Eye glass aids

There are many advantages and disadvantages of hearing aids. Those are discussed below:

Advantages of Hearing Aids
1. Better control over the prosthetic device: The user can try different hearing aids to check which one is comfortable for the user and this is helpful for purchasing a new device every couple of years.
2. The user can take the advantages of the new technologies because these are available nowadays (improved ear molds, tubing, telecoils and digital or analog programming strategies.
3. The user can use a back up hearing aid or an older model when the device will not work properly.
4. The user can buy new device every few years.
5. The cost of the accessories is small.
6. The user can use hearing aid or audiologist in any neighborhood.
7. He or she can adjust controls on some personal device.
8. There are easier maintenance costs once the ear mold issues are resolved.
9. The wearer of the hearing aid can visit audiologist or hearing aid dispenser only when the device will not work properly.
10. The user can easily change the tubing at home.
11. The batteries will give a few hours warning before dying to change it at a more convenient time or place.
12. It retains residual hearing for later optimal hearing aid technology.
13. The person with severe hearing loss may be greater ease in discriminating of low frequency sounds and may enjoy the bass sounds of music.
14. The user is more comfortable in the hearing aid to hear the telephonic sound than the cochlear implant.
15. Hearing aids does not mess with the body’s biology to quite the degree that the cochlear implants do. The hearing aids will not cause scarring or any bony growth inside the cochlea.

There are some drawbacks of the device also:
1. Limited hearing assistance in the high frequency ranges.
2. The ear molds and the acoustic feedback issues may be repetitive, time consuming and irritating.
3. The loud noises are inconvenient for the users of linear amplification.
4. The hearing aids need to fit the user properly. It should be well monitored and securing the appropriate audiologist to accomplish the aided thresholds that delivers easiness in accessing the conversational sound. It may be difficult in some locations.