Which Circuit?

Which Circuit is Right for You?

All of the circuits listed above are a vast improvement over the circuits available just three years ago. They all are striving to help people understand speech in noisy situations and to eliminate the distortion of common hearing circuits. The only way you can determine which is right for you is to visit your local hearing specialist, obtain a current hearing test, and ask to listen to the different circuits.

Do you want a totally automatic hearing aid or would you like to be able to make some adjustments yourself? Are you bothered by noise? Directional Microphones as very helpful in noise. Do you listen to music and want to hear a wide range of sounds more normally? You would want more memories? Does you work require that you understand speech clearly in noise?

You and your local hearing specialist can work together to determine which circuit will best fill your hearing needs and financial situation. Tell the hearing specialist about the different listening situations you encounter and any sounds which “drive you up the wall”. The more information the hearing specialist has about your listening situations will help in the selection of the correct circuit for you.

If you mainly stay at home, have conversations with two or less persons at a time, you do not need the highest technology in hearing aid circuits and can save some money. If you are a lawyer, judge or doctor, we all hope you will invest in the best circuit on the market because what you hear can have dire consequences. If you are in extreme listening situations throughout the day, from quiet phone conversations to noisy machine shops you probably need a hearing aid with more than one memory and/or dual microphones.

Hearing specialists use many different “fitting formulas” to get us close to “target.” But each individual has a different perception of what sounds good. That’s why some people love listening to Jazz and the next person hates it. It usually take two to four adjustments to set the hearing aid to the sound quality that you prefer. You need to form a “partnership” with your hearing specialist, who will help you re-learn how to listen and understand in this noisy world we live in. You will not get back to perfect hearing, but we can help you understand much better and we can now help much more in noisy situations.

Definitions

Bands
Determines how many times the frequency range is broken into different segments. For example, you can have a two band instrument. This could mean that all the low frequencies through 1k are in one “band” and all the high frequencies from 1k up are in a different “band.” This would enable the hearing aid specialist to set the gain in the lower band different than the gain in the high frequency band. Most people need more power in the higher frequencies to help maintain speech clues over the noise in the background. Of course, the more “bands” usually will mean that the hearing aid can be set closer to your individual needs.

BTE
Behind-the-ear hearing aid. The hearing sets behind and over the ear. An earmold is placed into the ear canal with tubing connecting the two pieces.

Channels
Hearing aids can have programmable compression settings. Hearing aids use compression to help keep sounds from becoming uncomfortable for the user. Your hearing aid specialist can set when the hearing aid will begin compressing sound and how much the sound will be compressed. For example, when a sound reaches 65 dB of loudness, the hearing aid can be set to begin compressing the loudness. The degree of compression can also be set. For example, the hearing aid can be set to a ratio of 2 to 1. This would mean that when a sound reaches 65 db of loudness, the user will only notice a 1 dB increases in the loudness, even through the loudness actually increases by 2 dBs.

Half Shell
An in-the-ear custom hearing aid which only fills half the bowl of the outer ear.

ITC  
In-the-canal custom hearing aid which only fills about the lower 1/4 of the outer ear.

ITE
In-the-ear custom hearing aid, also called a Full Shell size which fills the entire bowl of the outer ear.

Listening Programs

These are independent memories which are programmed for different listening situations. For example, you may have a memory set for quiet situations. Then a second memory for when you go to restaurants, for when you are around machinery. The hearing aid will be more aggressive in getting noise out of the background when you are in your noise program. When you are in the quiet program, you would be able to hear more of the normal environmental background sounds.

Noise Reduction

Noise reduction is a program within the hearing aid processor unit that will sense noise in the environment and then reduce the gain in the frequency where the noise is present. The digital circuit is able to do this since most noise is at a steady state in pitch, tone and volume. Most speech is changing in pitch, tone and volume constantly. This program within the hearing instrument helps to maintain the loudness of speech over the noise in the background.

For more information: http://www.hearingcenter.com/info_files/digitha.html