Types of Hearing Aid Technology
The type of technology in your hearing aid changes how it works. An audiologist can help find the right hearing aid for you.
Early hearing aids were large and heavy. Today, they use microchips, computers, and digital technology. This allows them to be smaller and more powerful.
There are three main types of hearing aids:
- Digital programmable
- Conventional analog
- Analog programmable
Digital programmable hearing aids use digitized sound processing, or DSP. DSP changes sound waves into digital signals. There is a computer chip in the aid. This chip decides if a sound is noise or speech. It then makes changes to the aid to give you a clear, loud signal.
Digital hearing aids adjust themselves. These types of aids can change sounds to meet your needs.
This type of hearing aid is expensive. But, it can help you in many ways, including
- easier programming;
- better fit;
- keeping sounds from getting too loud;
- less feedback; and
- less noise.
Some aids can store different programs. This lets you change the settings on your own. There may be a setting for when you are on the phone. Another setting may be for when you are in a noisy place. You can push a button on the aid or use a remote control to change the setting. Your audiologist can program this type of aid again if your hearing changes. They also last longer than other types of aids.
Conventional analog hearing aids are not as flexible as digital aids. The audiologist sends in the settings you need. These settings come from the results of your hearing test. The aid makes all sounds louder, including speech and other noises. There are not many settings, so the aid works the same way all the time. It is the least expensive type of aid.
Analog programmable hearing aids have a microchip in them. This lets your audiologist program the aid for different needs. One setting may be for talking in your quiet home. Another may be for noisy or large places. These aids are a cross between the other types of aids.
More information on this topic can be found in our
Audiology Information Series.
To find an audiologist near you, visit