Hearing Aid Description
Hearing instruments improve speech understanding in various situations and support the many functions of human hearing (location of sounds, enjoyment of music, etc.)As the kind and degree of hearing loss varies from person to person and even sometimes from ear to ear, there are different models of hearing instruments which are tailored to specific hearing losses and which take into account personal needs. Hearing instruments are distinguished by design and technology.
In-The-Ear model (ITE): The unobtrusive hearing instruments that are worn in the ear. Aesthetically pleasing, they cover hearing losses from mild to medium. The smallest ITE-models are called CIC (Completely-in-Canal), they can be worn completely in the canal and are therefore hardly visible.
The right choice of hearing instrument type and technology is determined by the individual hearing loss and anatomical features of the ear. Your audiologist or hearing aid specialist can advise you on the various possibilities available.
The basics of a hearing instrument
Every hearing instrument has one or more microphones, which pick up sound from the environment. This acoustic signal is transformed to an electrical signal; it is amplified and adapted according to the individual hearing loss. The receiver (or "loudspeaker") then reconverts it to an acoustic signal, which is directed down the ear canal.
Digital, digitally programmable or analog technology?
Thanks to increasingly small microprocessors, digital technology has been applied to hearing systems. Digital hearing instruments are programmed by your hearing care professional using a computer. Within the hearing instrument, acoustic signals are transformed at high speed and with great precision into a binary code. This allows much more complex calculations and adjustment of the amplified signal than is possible with analog technology. It gives greater flexibility in providing individualized solutions to hearing loss, and allows the addition of features which give the instruments higher value across a greater number of listening situations.
Programmable digital technology
This technology is a combination of analog signal processing and digital programming of the hearing system via a computer. It can be used in various combinations to meet individual needs.
Hearing instruments with analog signal processing are not programmed with a computer, but are adjusted manually by a hearing care professional using a fine screwdriver. Individualized settings are only possible to a certain degree since innovations such as multi-microphones; the suppression of background noise and convenient remote control operation cannot be integrated into the solution.
Noise, reverberation, and distance: Whenever even latest-generation hearing instruments approach the limits of their capabilities, Phonak FM technology, combined with hearing instruments, significantly enhances the ability of hearing-impaired people to communicate in the most difficult listening situations. Barriers to clear hearing can be successfully overcome because speech and sound are transmitted directly to the hearing-impaired person's ears, without interfering noise.