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1. Technology used in hearing Aids

 A hearing aid essentially makes sounds and speech loud enough for a person with hearing loss to hear and
 understand. A hearing aid has 3 main parts – Microphone(s) collects sound, Amplifier makes it louder and
 the amplified sound is delivered Hearing aids work differently depending on the type of electronics used
 in the amplifier. The two main types of electronics are analog and digital.

Analog hearing aids convert sound waves into electrical signals, which are amplified. Analog hearing aids
are not custom built so they hardly meet the needs of each user. The analog hearing aid cannot be
programmed as per the hearing loss.

Digital hearing aids convert sound waves into numerical digital codes (0s and 1s), similar to the binary code of a computer, before amplifying them. Because the code also includes information about a sound’s pitch or loudness, the aid can be specially programmed to amplify some frequencies more than others. Digital circuitry gives an audiologist more flexibility in adjusting the aid to a user’s needs and to certain listening environments. These aids also can be programmed to focus on sounds coming from a specific direction. Digital circuitry can be used in all types of hearing aids and are the most acceptable type of hearing aids.

Wireless Digital hearing aids are the latest innovation in digital hearing aids. They are a class apart within conventional digital hearing aids. Using wireless technology (like a Bluetooth), right-left hearing aids exchange information and sound sothat a hearing aid user get sound quality close to natural hearing. They can effectively and directly transmit sound from other electronic devices (like mobile phone, television, music system) to hearing aids without any distortion.

 2. Benefits of digital hearing aid over Analog hearing Aid?
Digital hearing aids are highly effective, sleek, and sophisticated wearable electronics that can help people stay actively connected to life and to those they love. Many of today’s hearing aids allow users to hear speech from several directions, in all sorts of sound environments. They are digital, wireless, can connect directly to your smartphone or television, and can be as discreet or as visible as you like. Whether they sit discreetly inside the ear canal, or wrap aesthetically around the contour of the outer ear like the latest fashion accessory, today’s digital hearing aids amplify for life.

Below are five differences digital hearing aids have made in the lives of persons with hearing loss:

1. Virtually invisible. Many of today’s hearing aids sit discreetly and comfortably inside ear canal,
  providing both natural sound quality, and discreet and easy use.
2. Automatically adjust to several kinds of soundscapes. Whether hearing important conversations in
    office meeting, enjoying conversation in a restaurant or family dinner or or enjoying a comedy show in
    television, recent technological advances have made hearing aids far more versatile than ever before.
3. There is something for just about everyone. Traditional hearing aids could only suit some types of
hearing loss because of lack of technology. Modern digital hearing aids offer solutions to a wide range
of audiograms. Digital hearing aids have effective and instant fitting solutions for two most commonly
seen varieties of hearing loss.
4. Protection from Water, sweat, and dust. Water-sweat-dust proof, digital hearing aids have arrived, in
effect, weather-proof. These hearing aids have a special and highly effective coating of nano-material.
This new feature is built into some newly designed hearing aids for those concerned about water,
humidity, and dust. This feature reduces repairs and prolongs the life of hearing aids and its tiny parts
5.Connecting with love smartphones, computers, and TVs. Wireless, digital hearing aids are now the
norm. That means seamless connectivity—from smartphones, MP3 players, computers, FM systems,
televisions—directly into hearing aid(s), at volumes just right for a given user.

3.Benefits wearing two hearing aids?
People with hearing loss in both ears (bilateral hearing loss), are most likely a candidate for two hearing aids, which is called binaural hearing aids. While a hearing healthcare professional can best determine if you are a candidate for two hearing aids, the ultimate decision-maker concerning binaural instruments is the person who will wear them. There seems to be a wide range of benefits from binaural use of hearing aids. Some of the most important benefits are:

Better understanding of speech. By wearing two hearing aids rather than one, the user can focus on the conversation you want to hear. It is observed time and again that people wearing two hearing aids routinely understand speech and conversation significantly better than people wearing one hearing aid. This is quite evident in noisy environments and group conversations. Hence, if a person has a listening need to hear in a group/ noisy environment he should wear binaural hearing aids.
Better ability to tell the direction of sound. This is called localization. In a social gathering, for example, localization allows you to hear from which direction someone is speaking to you. Also, localization helps one notice from which direction traffic is coming or whice direction one is being called. Simply put, with binaural hearing, you will better detect where sounds are coming from in every situation.

Better sound quality. We normally use two speakers in a music system to get the smoothest, sharpest, most natural sound quality. The same can be said of hearing aids too. By wearing two hearing aids, hearing range increases from 180 degrees reception with just one instrument, to 360 degrees. This greater range provides a better sense of balance and sound quality. Wearing two hearing aids generally requires less volume than one. The need for less volume results in less distortion and better reproduction of amplified sounds.

Wider hearing range. A person can hear sounds from a further distance with two hearing aids, rather than just one. A voice that's barely heard at 10 feet with one hearing aid can be heard up to 40 feet with two hearing aids.

Keeps both ears active resulting in potentially less hearing loss deterioration. It has been observed in many people suffering with hearing loss, that when only one hearing aid is worn, the opposite ear tends to lose its ability to hear and understand. This is clinically called the auditory deprivation effect. Wearing two hearing aids keeps both ears active.

Hearing is less tiring and listening more pleasant. More binaural hearing aid users report that listening and participating in conversation is more enjoyable with two instruments, instead of just one. This is because they do not have to strain to hear with the better ear. Thus, binaural hearing can help make life more relaxing.

Tinnitus Masking. About 50% of people with ringing in their ears report higher and faster improvement when wearing two hearing aids. If a person with tinnitus wears a hearing aid in only one ear, there will still be ringing in the ear that does not have a hearing aid.

Just as we use both eyes to see clearly, we need two healthy ears to hear clearly. Before you decide on one hearing aid, try two hearing aids first. Your amplifon audiologist can demonstrate to you the binaural advantage experience either through. Decide for yourself.

4. Types of hearing aids?

Modern hearing aids are available in a variety of styles. They are made to meet cosmetic needs of hearing aid users. While a classic BTE style hearing aid is made to deliver full features and performance, CIC hearing aids are made to be invisible but can’t offer all features of a hearing aid.

Completely in the canal (CIC) or Invisible In Canal (IIC)

A completely-in-the-canal hearing aid is molded to fit inside your ear canal. It improves mild to Severe hearing loss in adults. Some features are:

  • Is the smallest and least visible type
  • Is less likely to pick up wind noise
  • Uses very small batteries, which have shorter life and can be difficult to handle
  • Doesn't contain extra features, such as volume control or a directional microphone
  • Is susceptible to earwax clogging

In the canal

An in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid is custom molded and fits partly in the ear canal. This style can improve mild to moderate hearing loss in adults.

  • Is less visible in the ear than larger styles
  • Includes features that won't fit on completely-in-the-canal aids, but may be difficult to adjust due to its small size
  • Is susceptible to earwax clogging

Behind the ear

A behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid hooks over the top of your ear and rests behind the ear. A tube connects the hearing aid to a custom earpiece called an earmold that fits in your ear canal. This type is appropriate for people of all ages and those with almost any type of hearing loss.

A behind-the-ear hearing aid:

Traditionally has been the largest type of hearing aid, though some newer mini designs are streamlined and barely visible
  • Is capable of more amplification than are other styles
  • May pick up more wind noise than other styles

Receiver in canal or receiver in the ear

It is the most popular style of hearing aid. The receiver-in-canal (RIC) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) styles are similar to a behind-the-ear hearing aid with the speaker or receiver in the canal or in the ear. Just by changing a receiver the same RIC type of hearing aid can be fitted most types of hearing loss. A tiny wire, rather than tubing, connects the pieces.

A receiver-in-canal hearing aid:

  • Has a less visible behind-the-ear portion
  • Is susceptible to earwax clogging
Open fit

An open-fit hearing aid is a variation of the behind-the-ear hearing aid. This style keeps the ear canal very open, allowing for low-frequency sounds to enter the ear naturally and for high-frequency sounds to be amplified through the hearing aid. This makes the style a good choice for people with mild to profound hearing loss.

The open-fit behind-the-ear style has become the most popular. An open-fit hearing aid:

  • Is less visible
  • Doesn't plug the ear like the small in-the-canal hearing aids do, making your own speech sound better to you
5. How should I take care of my hearing Aid?
Hearing aids are minute electronic devices. They need regular and special care for longer life and consistent sound quality. They hearing aids should not exposed to to extreme heat, e.g. left inside a parked car in the sun, and moisture, e.g. steam baths, showers or heavy rain. They must never be dried in microwave ovens or other ovens. In short -avoid heat, avoid humidity and avoid chemicals. Other recommendations to care your hearing aids:

Protecting from ear wax

Your ear canal produces ear wax that may clog up the ear piece. Ear wax is one of the main causes of problems in IIC, CIC, ITC and RIC types of hearing aids. These hearing aids come with a filter or other device to prevent wax from entering the instrument. Use the wax protection system and tools to clean away any accumulated wax each day.

Protecting from Moisture

Dampness and condensation can damage the circuitry in your hearing aids. Remove your hearing aids before swimming, showering or going out into heavy rain and don’t leave them in the bathroom. Dry any perspiration inside and around your ears regularly. Open the battery door fully to allow air to circulate whenever you are not using your hearing aids, especially at night or for longer periods of time, and consider using a special drying kit. Your hearing care professional can provide advice on the best drying kit for your hearing aids.

Protecting from Heat

Protect your hearing aids from direct sunlight and do not leave them near heaters or in your car. Never put your hearing aids in the microwave or oven to dry them out.

Keep hearing aids out of reach of pets and children

Keep your hearing aids, their parts and batteries out of the reach of children and pets. Dogs can be irritated by the whistling sound from hearing aids and have been known to chew them. Hearing aid batteries can be dangerous if they are swallowed by children or pets.

 Contact your Amplifon audiologist for a regular 6-month servicing of hearing aids. You may also consider purchasing extended warranty for the hearing aids.

6. What are the advantages of wireless hearing Aid?
Wireless hearing instrument features offer convenience and to users in multiple ways and sound experience close to natural hearing. They facilitate operation of the hearing instruments, either by synchronizing volume control and program choice settings between bilaterally worn devices, or by means of a remote control. As mentioned previously, there is also a convenience factor in being able to interface with other electronic devices and to receive the sound via one’s hearing instruments. This could include cell phones, music players, PCs, televisions and radios, or any audio source. 

Wireless exchange of information between bilaterally worn devices can be used to automatically select and align the microphone mode and noise reduction settings most likely to be beneficial in the given listening environment. This reduces the need for users to recognize and manually select hearing instrument programs or features intended for particular listening situations.

Contact your Amplifon Audiologist for a demonstration of wireless hearing aids and accessories.

7. How do I know which hearing aid suits me best?
The answer is that a best hearing aid that best helps you address a hearing impairment. At amplifon we are interested in delighting you, in meeting your needs and finding the best hearing aids for you. Here are some suggestions for optimizing the chances that you will be one of these delighted hearing aid wearers. At amplifon we have more than one international brand of hearing aids and audiologists trained to understand your requirement and select appropriate hearing aids. At amplifon, the entire process is documented sothat a hearing selection is scientific and purely driven by your real life requirements. One of the most important aspects of an enjoyable hearing aid experience is that you like the sound quality of hearing aids. So when you test-run your hearing aids, make sure that you consider the following dimensions of sound quality:

  • Do you like the sound of your voice?
  • Is the sound clean and crisp (sound clarity)?
  • Is the sound too tinny?
  • Does your hearing aid seem to plug up your ear and in fact muffle sound?
  • Does it make some pleasant soft sound audible to you?
  • Are loud sounds uncomfortable to you?
  • Are your hearing aids natural-sounding?
  • Does music sound pleasant and rich in texture?
  • Does the world sound like you are in a barrel?
  • Does your hearing aid whistle, buzz or squeal on its own?
With today's modern digital hearing aids, most of these problems should be solved. If you notice any of these problems during the trial run and in your follow-up visits, by all means talk to your hearing healthcare professional about these issues.

8. What is average life span of hearing aid?

Hearing aids need regular care at home, and periodical care at the service centre. The average lifespan of a hearing aid is 3-5 years and may be a bit longer if well taken care. If the tips mentioned above are followed well and with regular visits to amplifon clinic, the condition of hearing aids can be maintained well.

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Welcome to Amplifon

Hearing loss is a common problem. More than 60% of people over the age of 60 suffer from some grade of hearing loss. In India, the statistics suggest 1/12th of the whole population. While not many realize they have a problem, using a hearing instrument at an early stage can help resolve many issues. Amplifon has always looked towards providing excellent client care in hearing loss diagnosis and... read more

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