Hearing aids: even more effective!

May 28, 2012 by Paul Fontaine

Lobe, appareils, auditifs, perte, audition, surdité, ouïe

Hearing problems are increasingly wide­spread. People suffering from deafness are looking for hear­ing aids that match their lifestyle. Through science, our auditory knowledge continues to grow, which lets us develop even more effective hearing aids. One of the problems the hard of hearing most often cite is hearing in noisy environments.

Hearing and understanding are two different, but interrelated, things. Hearing loss means that people perceive words less distinctly, which means understanding is reduced considerably. This is why they hear the words, but don’t really understand them. Using hearing aids earlier in our lives enables us to better adapt to hearing amplification.

Today’s hearing aids use several systems to help users understand in noisy environments.

A wide selection is available on the market and can be categorized into five levels of technology: premium, advanced, mid level, entry level and economy.

Hearing aids using premium and advanced technology provide for the most effective correction systems. They break the sound into several fragments, which allows for intervention on small sound bands. These hearing aids are equipped with the latest generation computer system. Noise reduction systems work alongside the interactive microphones and the interaural communication systems (right and left ear), which increases the ability to understand in a noisy place. The noise reduction system works in the canal where ambient noise is present without altering the other bands, thus providing better sound quality. Using interactive microphones, the systems available in hearing aids ensure that the hearing aid opposite the main vocal source focuses on that same vocal source. Connectivity features are available to connect the hearing aids to the telephone or TV so that the sound source is perceived directly in the hearing aids.

Hearing aids with mid level technology use less developed systems. They have fewer channels, and the noise reduction systems and microphones are less flexible than those in hearing aids with premium and advanced technology. They do not share sound information, but they can work together for directional microphone action or for adjusting volume.

Lastly, hearing aids with economy and entry level technology provide fewer options as they have fewer channels and less effective noise reduction systems. They can, however, communicate interaurally for volume adjustment and directional microphone action.

Do not hesitate to consult your audioprosthetist at one of the Lobe Santé auditive et communication multidisciplinary clinics for assistance selecting the right hearing aids for you. 

References:
Hearing aid manufacturers’ data sheets.