Hearing aid electronics
Hearing aid electronics control how sound is transferred from the environment to your inner ear. All hearing aids amplify sounds, making them louder so that you can hear them better. Most hearing aid manufacturers now only produce digital hearing aids — analog hearing aids are being phased out.
With digital technology, a computer chip converts the incoming sound into digital code, then analyzes and adjusts the sound based on your hearing loss, listening needs and the level of the sounds around you. The signals are then converted back into sound waves and delivered to your ears. The result is sound that’s more finely tuned to your hearing loss. Digital hearing aids are available in all styles and price ranges.
- Directional microphones. These microphones are aligned on the hearing aid to provide for improved pick up of sounds coming from in front of you with some reduction of sounds coming from behind or beside you. This technology improves your ability to hear when you’re in an environment with a lot of background noise.
- Telephone adapters. This technology, also referred to as telecoil, makes it easier to hear when talking on the telephone. The telecoil eliminates the sounds from your environment and only picks up the sounds from the telephone. Some hearing aids switch automatically when the phone is held up to the hearing aid, while others require flipping a switch. Keep in mind that this technology works only with telephones that are compatible with hearing aids — most cell phones aren’t.
- Bluetooth technology. New hearing aids can transmit sound from Bluetooth devices, such as Bluetooth cell phones. These hearing aids require an interface that wirelessly picks up the Bluetooth signal from Bluetooth-compatible devices and transmits the signal to the hearing aid. You don’t have to hold the phone to your ear or hearing aid to hear the sounds.
- Remote controls. Some hearing aids use a remote control that makes volume control adjustments or other changes without touching the hearing aid. The remote may also make other adjustments, such as activating the di