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All hearing aids work according to the same principle: They pick up ambient noise, the sound is converted into electrical impulses and then forwarded, in a modulated form, to the ear. However, depending on the severity of the hearing loss and personal requirements, hearing aids can differ considerably. Not just in terms of shape and size, but also in terms of their properties and functions. Which is the best hearing aid for me? Take a look at what’s available!

Types of Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are available in a wide range of designs for every type of hearing impairment or hearing loss, with a variety of functions to suit lifestyle needs from several different hearing aid brands.
This variety ensures that the hearing aid can be adapted to your activities and preferences. Below you will find a brief summary of the different types of hearing aids and their features:
A behind the ear style of hearing aid on display at Connect Hearing serving TX, FL, CA. 
This hearing aid is traditionally the most powerful and rests on the back of the outer ear.
Receiver-in-Canal Hearing Aids from phonak available at Connect Hearing in TX, FL, and CA. 
Receiver-in-Canal Hearing Aids: Advanced Technology for Superior Sound Quality
Open-fit hearing aid that uses a thin plastic micro tube extending into the ear canal.
In the ear (ITE) hearing aid
Small hearing aids that are worn entirely in the ear or ear canal rather than behind it.
This invisible-in-canal hearing aid is worn deep in the ear canal making it completely discreet.

What are the differences between digital and analog hearing aids?

Hearing aids can be either analog or digital. Most new hearing aids are digital. The only difference between analog and digital devices results from the way in which they process signals.

Analog hearing aids pick up signals from the surroundings. The signals are then reproduced and amplified by a loudspeaker. These devices are unable to filter out or reduce noise.
Digital hearing aids convert sound into electronic information. Only major signals are amplified and transmitted. Loud ambient sounds are reduced. This means that the wearer can hear better even in noisy environments. These devices can be adapted to individual needs and are smaller than analog models. Digital hearing aids also deliver improved sound quality and enhance speech comprehension. This makes hearing easier.

What are the differences between open and closed fittings?

Hearing aids may be either closed or open in design. An open design means that the sound waves continue to reach the eardrum naturally. Behind-the-ear devices feature open fittings. In this case, the sound tube and earpiece sit in the external ear canal. Since audible sounds are not amplified, natural hearing is possible. Open-fit models also allow better ventilation of the ear canal. 
In closed models, the external ear canal is largely sealed by an earpiece or in-the-ear hearing aid. However, this doesn’t mean that the ear isn’t ventilated. By fitting the earpiece, it sits better in the ear and ensures more direct transmission. This means that the full range of hearing aid features can be used more effectively. Closed models are also more flexible and can be used for different types of hearing loss.

What other hearing solutions are out there?

If standard hearing aids do not meet an individual's needs, there are still a number of alternatives out there. Bone conduction and bone-anchored hearing aids bypass the middle ear to transmit sound. Implants might also be a viable option. These might include middle ear implants, cochlear implants or brainstem implants.

With all of these alternatives, one will need to consult their audiologist and doctor to find an effective solution.

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