Enhancing Your Hearing

There is a multitude of hearing instruments and technologies available on the market today. The design of hearing aids varies tremendously but the purpose remains the same for every device: empowering you to live and enjoy your life to the fullest.
 
We believe that independent and professional advice is imperative to match the ideal hearing solution to the unique needs and requirements of every individual. At Farnham Hearing we devout time and expertise to ensure the best possible fitting. Read more about how we achive this here.
Oticon digital hearing aids

How does a hearing aid work?

 

While there are many different types and levels of sound processing available, all hearing instruments share five basic components:

 

  • A microphone that picks up sound

  • An amplifier that makes the sound louder

  • A tiny computer chip that processes and improves the quality of the sound to suit your hearing needs

  • A small loudspeaker that sends the improved and amplified sound to the ear

  • A battery that powers the whole device

 

Although the overall design of hearing instruments varies from model to model, it is the technology inside that makes the real difference. The technology or brain of the hearing aid determines how smart and adaptable it will be.  More sophisticated the technology will provide a richer and more rewarding listening experience to the wearer of the hearing aid.

 

 

What kind of hearing aid technology is available?

 
Analogue Sound Processing

Analogue sound processing is the most basic hearing aid technology. While this technology is the cheapest option it does come with certain drawbacks. It can be compared to making an enlarged photocopy of a small photo. While you end up with a bigger picture, you will have lost many of the finer details in the process.

 

Digital Sound Processing

Digital hearing aids convert the acoustic signal into a digital format (ones and zeros) before the sound is processed. It’s then converted back to an analogue acoustic signal for the listener. In contrast with analogue sound processing, the overall quality is not adversely affected but enhanced.

 

Wireless Communication

Recent advancements in hearing aid technology have resulted in superior wireless connectivity and high-speed broadband communication between instruments. This enables two hearing instruments to communicate and perform binaural processing, allowing them to work as one central processor. This mimics the way our brain naturally processes sound from both ears. The left and right hearing aid works together and improves hearing particularly in challenging listening environments like group conversations. The technology provides a more authentic listening perspective.

 

In addition, hearing instruments can also connect to a number of Bluetooth-enabled electronic devices like mobile phones and MP3 players. This means that the wearer will be able to receive a telephone call directly in their hearing aid. This is like an upgraded hands-free kit for your mobile. Not only will you benefit from more refined amplification (no sound lost in translation from the telephone speaker to the hearing aid microphone), but the caller’s voice is heard in both ears!

 

small tiny digital hearing aid
Variety of digital hearing aid styles behind-the-ear, receiver-in-the-ear, custom canal

Performance Levels

 

In general terms, all hearing aid manufacturers offer hearing aids in three performance levels: Essential (basic), Advanced and Premium.

 

Essential hearing instruments

These instruments are designed to make speech easier to hear. They have the least frequency-specific channels for compensation of hearing loss. They usually feature a single channel that is fixed directionality and they are usually not very effective in noisy environments.

 

 

Advanced instruments

These instruments shape the sound more closely to fit your needs. Because advanced instruments automatically adapt to changes in your environment, communication becomes even easier, particularly when it is noisy.

 

Advanced instruments offer fewer high-tech features compared to premium instruments.

 

Premium instruments

These instruments offer the richest, most natural sound quality for the wearer. Different types of hearing instruments process loud sounds and quiet sounds in different ways. A premium instrument will identify a high variety of acoustic environments and adapt automatically to preserve the speech signal as close as possible. Most of these instruments use wireless technology to enable the devices to communicate and keep your sound picture more true-to-life (left and right devices communicate with each other and also with other devices like telephones and televisions). In very difficult listening environments, some of these instruments can reduce the volume in the ear closest to the loud noise while simultaneously sending speech information from this side to the other, less-challenged ear.