Hearing aids for adults can be obtained in 2 separate ways:-
- N.H.S. - via referral from your G.P. to a local E.N.T. Department.
- Privately - directly from a Registered Hearing Aid Dispenser.
These options will be looked at in more detail later in this section.
A brief overview of the main types of technology available
Mr J Caton
||Uses conventional technology - microphone receiver, amplifier,
user volume control. Generally work quite well in quiet situations but are
less effective in background noise.
||Multi programme aids controlled either by a push button on
the aid or by remote control. Programmes can be set for different listening
situations e.g. prog. 1 for listening in quiet, prog. 2 for listening in
noise. There is also usually a facility for the user to adjust the volume.
These aids are more versatile than basic analogue aids and can be programmed
to give better results in noisy situations.
||Patients' hearing levels are programmed into a microchip within
the aid. Incoming sounds are constantly analyzed compared to the hearing
loss and the output is regulated to keep incoming speech clear even in high
levels of background noise. Some digital aids have more than one programme
or a user control to increase flexibility although in most cases this is
not necessary. In most instances digital aids give the best results, there
is no amplifier noise and the response is usually very clear even in background
Types of hearing aids
All hearing aids contain some custom made part which is manufactured from impressions
taken of the ear using silicone material. Aids can be provided in various sizes
using either analogue or digital technology. They are battery powered and the
batteries need replacing at regular intervals between 8 days and 30 days depending
on battery size and aid power.
|Behind the ear (B.E.) aid
||Can be fitted to all levels of hearing loss. The aid itself
is not custom made but is chosen from within a range of models to match
the hearing loss as closely as possible. The aid fits behind the ear and
sound is channelled into the ear via a tube supported by a custom made earmould.
|Modular in the ear (I.T.E.)
||A standard aid module clips into a custom made ear shell which
fits inside the ear. Suitable for mild to moderate losses, cosmetically
|Full Shell in the ear (I.T.E.)
||Custom made aid individually built for user. It fits inside
the ear and is suitable for most types of hearing loss, cosmetically quite
|Half Shell in the ear (I.T.E.)
||As above but less visible.
|In the Canal (I.T.C.)
||Custom made individually built. Suitable for mild to moderate
losses. Fits in the ear canal, cosmetically quite discreet.
Completely in the Canal (C.I.C.)