Hearing aids are versatile tools. They are designed to improve hearing and can capture both soft sounds and loud noises. While using a hearing aid, one can adapt the volume’s settings according to their hearing preferences or necessities. For example, users can increase the volume when watching television or decrease the volume when attending a loud sporting event. Hearing aid controls are what make this luxury a reality.
How a hearing aid works
Most hearing aids are digital. They can be powered by a hearing aid battery or a rechargeable battery.
To amplify sound, a hearing aid follows three specific steps. First, a microphone captures a sound and converts it into a digital signal. Second, an amplifier augments the signal and adjusts it according to a person’s hearing ability. Likewise, the amplifier considers other factors such as surrounding noise and a person’s listening needs. Finally, a speaker delivers the amplified sound into the person’s ear.
Kinds of hearing aids
Different hearing aids vary in size, price and features. The following three happen to be some of the most common styles.
An in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid sits at the bottom of the ear canal. They hold a longer battery lifespan and are known to be easy and comfortable. They can also host additional features such as special volume controls and directional microphones. These kinds of hearing aids are recommended for mild to moderate hearing losses.
Meanwhile, in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are recommended for people with mild-to-severe hearing loss. They are custom made and sit within the outer portion of the ear canal. Depending on its size, an ITE is relatively discrete and contains all the vital electronics, as well as larger battery size.
Finally, a behind-the-ear (BTE) model sits behind or on top of the ear. A tube connects the hearing aid to a custom earpiece called an ear mold, which is fitted inside the ear canal. This hearing aid is the most popular model used by all ages with varying degrees of hearing loss.
How to adjust the volume
While they vary from model to model, most hearing aids share similar control features. However, make sure to read your model’s instructions or consult with a certified audiologist before making any adjustments.
To turn the volume, check for a wheel or a little lever on your hearing aid. Different models vary; however, most either offer a wheel or a lever. To make the volume louder, push the hearing aid upwards; to lessen the volume, push the hearing aid downwards.
As for automatic hearing aids, no interference is required. Automatic hearing aids already take the trouble of automatically adjusting the volume to your preference.
Other hearing aids come with directional microphones. Directional microphones are designed to minimize unwanted background noise by detecting front-noise, rather than side noise or background noise. Depending on the situation, hearing aids can alternate between capturing directional or all-round noises. Meanwhile, other kinds of hearing aids can offer more specific features suited to other specific situations. Check your hearing aid’s manual to make sure if it comes with any of these features.
Understanding the O-T-M switch
Each hearing aid comes with an on/off switch. You must turn the battery off once you stop using your hearing aid. To do so, check for the letters O-T-M on your battery switch. The letter O stands for off.
Meanwhile, the letter M in an O-T-M switch stands for microphone. More than often, a wearer will switch to the letter M to listen via the hearing aid’s microphone.
Finally, the letter T stands for telecoil. A vast majority of hearing aids, whether old or new, have what is known as a T-coil or telecoil built-in. When you switch your aid to the letter T, it allows you to operate specialized listening equipment to improve a specific listening experience. In most cases, telecoils connect to hearing aid-compatible devices, like televisions or telephones or signals called induction loops.
When on the telephone, telecoils can help reduce background noise. For a clearer listening experience, a telecoil cancels-out any noisy interference and instead picks up the sound of the aid-compatible device.
Likewise, telecoils can pick-up signals from public places via an induction loop. An induction loop allows a wearer to listen to a speaker, play, or movie without being bothered by interfering background noise. An induction loop achieves this by magnetically transmitting sound to the hearing aid’s T-coil, functioning almost like a wireless speaker.
In effect, hearing aids are designed to complement the desired lifestyle of every patient. Listening should not be unpleasant, but rather comfortable. For more information, consider taking Audiology Associates’ hearing survey or book an appointment at (707) 981-4336.