Hearing aids are electronic devices that are used by people having hearing loss. These are designed to improve the hearing capacity by making sound audible to a person with hearing loss. Hearing aids have three components: microphone, amplifier, and speaker. They amplify sound through the following mechanism-
- The hearing aids receive sound through the microphone, which converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to the amplifier.
- The amplifier after receiving the electrical signals from the microphone increases the power of signals.
- The speaker’s work is to take amplified signals from amplifiers and send them to the ear.
Type of Hearing Aid:-
There are various types of hearing aid and there is continuous research is going to make the design which will make suitable to people.
Some type of hearing aid is given as-
- Behind-the-ear (BTE)-
These are used to wear behind the ear. These are in plastic cases & people can wear them behind the ear. The device connects to a plastic earmold that fits inside the outer ear.
BTE is a hearing aid that is suitable for people of all ages with mild to severe hearing loss.
- In-the-ear (ITE)-
As the name suggests that this is worn inside the ear. These hearing aids are hard plastic molds that sit inside the outer ear. These hearing aids may include a telecoil feature.
ITE hearing aids are suitable for a person with to severe hearing loss.
- Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE)-
RITE is very much similar to BTE hearing aids. However, the part of the hearing that sits behind the ear is smaller than as compared to BTE.
- In-the-canal (ITC)-
These types of hearing are fitted into the ear canal. For these types of hearing aid manufacturers have to first take the size & shape of a person’s ear canal.
- Completely-in-canal (CIC)-
These are similar to ITC type hearing aid but they are less visible to ITC.
These are made after a very precise measurement of patients’ shape and size of the ear canal.
- Tinnitus masker-
A tinnitus masker is a hearing aid that may be able to mask tinnitus. This has a special feature as it works as a hearing aid as well as a tinnitus masker.
- Bone conduction hearing aid or Bone anchored hearing aid-
The short form of this type of hearing aid is BAHA transmit sound via bone vibration.
Contralateral routing of signal (CROS) and Bilateral routing of signal (BiCROS) hearing aids are usually suitable for a person with hearing loss in one ear or better hearing in another one.
- Body-worn analog-
These are suitable for persons having severe hear hearing loss. These are small boxes that connect to earphones. A person can clip the box to clothing or put it into a packet.
Hearing aids are a boon for people having hearing loss. Continuous technological advancements are being made to make the device more accurate and feasible
About the Human Ear –
The human ears are very important organs. Our ear has three parts outer/external ear, middle ear, and inner ear. Each part of the ear has a specific role in our hearing process. The functions of each part are as follows:-
- Outer/External ear – All sound from surroundings comes in through the body via our outer ear.
- Middle ear – Sound waves from the outer ear reach our middle ear, where they make our eardrum vibrate. The vibrations are transmitted through three tiny bones, called ossicles, in our middle ear. The ossicles amplify the sound.
- Inner ear – The vibrations from ossicles travel to the inner ear, it is a snail-shaped organ. The inner ear makes the electrical impulses that are sent to the brain by auditory nerves. Our brain translates these electrical impulses as sounds. The inner ear also controls balance.
What is Hearing loss :-
Ears are very delicate organs. There should be proper maintenance of the ear otherwise various problems will arise. Hearing loss is a major problem. A person who is not able to hear as well as someone with normal hearing- hearing thresholds of 20 dB or better in both ears – is said to have hearing loss. Some key facts regarding this problem-
- By 2050 nearly 2.5 billion people are projected to have some degree of hearing loss and at least 700 million will require hearing devices.
- Over 1 billion young adults are at risk of permanent, avoidable hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices.
Over 5% of the world’s population – or 430 million people – require rehabilitation to address their ‘disabling’ hearing loss (432 million adults and 34 million children). It is estimated that by 2050 over 700 million people – or one in every ten people- will have disabling hearing loss. ‘Disabling’ hearing loss refers to hearing loss greater than 35 decibels (dB) in the better hearing ear.
There are three types of hearing loss; conductive, sensorineural, and mixed (both conductive and sensorineural).
- Conductive hearing loss involves the outer or middle ear. Conductive hearing loss happens when the natural movement of sound through the external ear or middle ear is blocked, and the full sound does not reach the inner ear. Conducting hearing loss may be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause. Conductive hearing loss can occur in one ear (unilateral hearing loss) or both ears (bilateral hearing loss). Conductive hearing loss can have different degrees: mild, moderate, severe, or profound.
Ear wax is one of the most common causes of conductive hearing loss. Conducting hearing loss can be also caused by malformation or malfunction of the ear or damage to the outer ear or middle ear. This problem can also be caused due to chronic middle ear infections or glue ear, where fluids fill up the middle ear so that the eardrum cannot move. Otosclerosis, which is an abnormal growth of bone in the middle ear, can also cause conductive hearing loss.
- Sensorineural hearing loss is related to problems with the inner ear. Sensorineural hearing loss happens when there is damage to tiny hair cells in the cochlear and/or the auditory nerve. This type of loss involves damage to nerves from exposure to loud noise. This type of hearing loss is very common, affecting roughly 9 out of 10 people with hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss affects both the loudness and clarity of the sound. The most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss are exposure to loud noise, genetic factors, or the natural aging process. It can also be congenital, meaning that it is present from birth, or acquired. Congenital hearing loss is present from birth and is one of the most common birth abnormalities. It affects about 1 to 3 babies per 1000 births.
- Mixed hearing loss consists of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. This causes damage to both the outer and inner ear. The outer ear cannot conduct sound properly to the inner ear, and the inner ear can’t process the sound to be sent to the brain.
Reasons for Hearing Loss: –
There are many reasons for hearing loss. Some reasons are listed below-
- Age-related hearing loss – Mostly it is found that with an increase in age or old-age the problem of hearing loss increases. Thus, the most common type of hearing loss is known as age-related hearing loss or presbycusis. The cells of the ear weaken with the passage of time.
- Heredity – Ear problems are also related to heredity. Genetic hearing loss has diverse etiologies and it is estimated that approx. 1% of all human genes are involved in the hearing process. Hearing loss can follow a pattern of autosomal recessive, autosomal dominant, X-linked, and mitochondrial inheritance.
- Earwax buildup or ruptured eardrum: – Earwax, also called cerumen, is made by the body to protect the ears. The ear wax has both lubricating and antibacterial properties. The wax protects the ear canal from water, infection, injury, and foreign objects. But too much wax buildup can cause problems, this is called impacted earwax and this impacted earwax causes hearing loss. If earwax is not removed safely, it can cause trauma to the ear, which can result in permanent hearing loss.
There are also more reasons for hearing loss which includes loud noise, head trauma, diseases, injuries, diabetes, smoking, obesity, hypertension, etc.
What are best Hearing Aids Companies: –
Hearing aids are used as alternatives for hearing losses. There are many different hearing aid brands and hearing aid products in the market. It is important to go to an audiologist and with a prescription of an audiologist choose a hearing aid for yourself. And never do a thing like someone is using that hearing aid, I should also use the same.
Did you know that everyone’s hearing is as unique as a fingerprint? Two persons can have the same type and degree of hearing loss. They might even share similar properties of hearing loss and still not have the same hearing loss needs.
In India, more than 65 million patients are suffering from hearing loss problem which needs hearing aid support.
Some top companies for a hearing aid-
- Oticon: – the company was established in 1904. The company head office is at Sorum, Denmark.
The company’s tag line is “People First”. For more than 115 years, the company’s products are credible. Oticon has brought life-changing hearing technology to market that exceeds the needs and expectations of people with hearing loss. Hans Demant was the founder of this company.
- Signia – The company was established in the year 1964. The company head office is in Piscataway, New Jersey. The company’s tagline is “Life sounds brilliant”.
- Phonak – The company was established in the year 1947. Its Head office is at Stafa, Switzerland. The company’s tagline is “Life is on”.
Over more than 72 years, the company is sustaining & bringing continuous advancements in technology to make it more friendly to users.
- ReSound: – The company was established in the year 1943. Its Head office is at Ballerup, Denmark.
The company’s tagline is “rediscover hearing”. This Danish company is very known for high-quality hearing devices.
- Unitron: – The company was established in the year 1964. The company Head office is at Kitchener, Canada.
The motto of Unitron is “Hearing Matters”. Since its inception, it has become one of the leading tech hearing aid companies. Its specialty is that Unitron never compromises with quality.
- Starkey: – The company was established in the year 1964. The company headquarters is in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
The motto of the company is “Hear Better, Live Better”. The company believes that being able to hear the world and the people around us is essential as breathing.
- Siemens: – The company was established in 1878. The companies headquarter is at Piscataway, New Jersey, United States.
This company is now under Signia’s umbrella. Siemens has been a trusted name in audiology for over a century.
- Widex: – The company was established in 1956. The Companies headquarter is at Lynge, Denmark. This company motto is “Helping People Hear”.
Widex is a leading company in innovation. It’s the world’s first fully digital hearing aid.
There is a variety of hearing aid manufacturers in the market offering numerous models and technologies. Whenever you have
encountered to buy any hearing aid. You should consider type, cost, features, cost, technology, and design. You can also check online customer reviews which will be very beneficial to you.
Hearing Aid Products: –
There are many hearing aid products. Some of the best products are mentioned below-
1. Oticon Opn S™ –
The hearing aid offers various features. Oticon has added layers of innovation to deliver even further improvements in speech understanding and listening effort with Oticon Opn S hearing aid. As every product of Oticon is unique, that goes with this too. The device has a very better sound quality and hearing ability. It has a Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. So, it has very long battery life.
Oticon Opn S offers simple, wireless connectivity to your favorite device. It has OpenSound Optimizer technology which detects and prevents annoying whistling sounds. This model has various design that sits behind the ear and comes in different models. Three of these variants – miniRITE, miniRITE T, and miniRITE R.
- Oticon Opn S 1 miniRITE-
The price of this device is ₹ 2,61,000. The device has a rechargeable Lithium-ion. 16 band, 64 channel, 72 full gain, and fitting db up to 105.
Amazon Buying Link
2. Phonak Audeo B-R rechargeable hearing Aid –
These hearing aids are compatible with most phones. This is a rechargeable model available in RIC (Receiver-in-canal) style. The durability of the device is claimed for 6 months by Phonak. This device can be used for mild to severe hearing loss. This device has the benefit that it could be used for android, iOS, or any other cell phone.
3. Signia Styletto X –
The Styletto X is slim-RIC (Receiver-in-canal) combination. It has portable rechargeability with an exchangeable receiver. It is available in five color combinations.
It is suitable for mild, moderate, and severe hearing loss. It also features motion sensors to optimize hearing in every situation.
Its price rate is approximately ₹79,000/pair.
4. Starkey Livio AI: –
This device uses artificial intelligence and has integrated sensors to enhance sound quality. This hearing aid is available in the BTE (Behind-the-ear), RIC(Receiver in the canal), ITE (in-the-ear), ITC(in-the-canal). It has good sound quality, wireless streaming, tinnitus technology, rechargeable battery options, brain, and body tracking. It is compatible with Bluetooth and smartphones. Its price is ₹3.49lakh/piece.