Hearing aids are small electronic devices that are worn behind or in the ear by people with hearing problems. They make some sounds to be louder so that the person wearing them is able to listen, communicate and be able to fully participate in the activities of the day. They can be helpful for hearing in both noisy and quiet environments.
A strange fact is that only a fifth of those with hearing problems actually use them!
The Working of the Analog Hearing Aid
There are two categories of hearing aids. There are the analogue hearing aids and the digital hearing aids. The analogue hearing aids are no longer in use in the world today. The digital hearing aids, on the other hand, are the ones that are in use today. However, the working of the current hearing aids are based on a similar technology. Basically, there are 5 components of these hearing aids.
These are the microphone, microchip, electrical amplifier, the battery and the receiver. The microphone is placed on the outside of the hearing aid. It serves to pick up sound that comes into the ear from the air and convert the sound waves into signals that are digital rather than analogue.
A microchip is a microcomputer that allows the audiologist to customize a hearing solution thereby giving a person the ability to reconnect with the world around them. The electrical amplifier helps to make the digital signals stronger for the receiver. The hearing aid is powered by a tiny battery embedded in it. The receiver is a speaker that can convert the digital signals transmitted into vibrations that can then be passed to the brain through the inner ear.
The workings of the Digital Hearing Aids
These kinds of hearing aids have existed from the 1990s. They work in a different manner from their analogue counterparts. They intelligently analyze the sounds that come into the ear and work to figure out frequencies of the sound that are needed by the ear. They then selectively boost them. The techniques they use are broadly referred to as Digital Signal Processing (DSP). This technique includes:
1. Gain Adjustment
The gain is the amount by which an amplifier would increase a given frequency. The digital hearing aid selectively adjusts the gain, normally about a dozen different bands of frequency in order to suit the individual’s specific hearing problem.
These hearing aids compress or squeeze the range of soft and loud sounds around a person into a much smaller range that can be heard by a person with hearing loss. At the same time, it takes care of the fact that the person can hear some sound frequencies better than the rest.
3. Sound Classification
This technique categorises sounds that can be heard as speech, music and noise among other categories. It then reduces or amplifies them selectively. Complex hearing aids are even able to figure out the environment that you’re in.
4. Speech Enhancement
This feature of the digital hearing aid works by boosting sound frequencies selectively from hundreds to thousands. This is the range that carries the most of the energy of the human speech.
5. Feedback Reduction
There are two types of feedback for those who use hearing aids. These are mechanical and acoustic. These feedbacks are removed by the digital hearing aid.
6. Noise Reduction
These work to remove steady background noise from that you want to hear.
Hearing aids currently come in different fashions to meet a person’s needs in terms of the appearance of the aid as well as the working. This is due to the different hearing loss problems that people have. Therefore, they’re made to meet each kind of hearing the need. If you are in need of hearing aids then please do the give the experts here at Bedfordshire Hearing a call on 01234 348144 – otherwise, if you are in the Bedford area, why not come to visit our Healthcare Centre.