Hearing Aid Specialist in Orange County, CA
With so many hearing aids available today, choosing the right one can be difficult and time-consuming. Understanding the options available can help to make the process easier and help to assure the one you select will best meet your needs.
Our board-certified audiologists Kim Baldock-Mahloch, AuD and Susan Eckardt, AuD have extensive experience helping patients find the right hearing aid to fit their lifestyle. If you’re struggling with hearing loss in southern California, contact SCENT today to schedule an appointment. Call the Southern California ENT office nearest you, or request an appointment through our secure online form. We have 4 southern California ENT clinics including in Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Long Beach, and Los Alamitos.
Why Should I Consider Hearing Aids?
Hearing loss can have a great impact on your life. Your hearing affects all areas of your life including your work, your relationships, and your emotional health. Hearing aids can make a big difference, especially if you pick the right ones and get help adjusting to them.
Many of the horror stories about hearing aids were due to lack of advancements in the computer technology realm. With profound improvements over the last decade, many setbacks about hearing aids are no longer relevant.
You may want to consider hearing aids, because you may not realize how poor your hearing has become, or you may find yourself asking others to repeat themselves frequently.
A board-certified audiologist can listen to your concerns and help determine if hearing aids are right for you.
How Do Hearing Aids Work?
Most hearing aids are now digital and powered with a traditional or a rechargeable battery.
Most of the older analog units are being phased out and hearing aids are sleeker than ever.
In a hearing aid, a small microphones collect sounds from the environment. A computer chip with an amplifier converts the incoming sound into digital code.
The hearing aid analyzes and adjusts the sound based on your hearing loss, listening needs and the level of the sounds around you. The amplified signals are then converted back into sound waves and delivered to your ears through speakers, sometimes called receivers.
Your hearing aids can be uniquely programed to your hearing loss to give you the best outcome and improve your hearing.
What Are the Basic Styles of Hearing Aids?
While most hearing aids perform in basically the same manner, different styles are available to accommodate your budget and your personal preferences. An important point to remember is that the smaller the hearing aid, the shorter its battery life and the more it will cost.
Inside-the-ear. These hearing aids are molded to fit completely inside a patient’s ear. Ideally, they can help to improve mild to moderate adult hearing loss. Since they fit inside the ear they are the least noticeable, have less wind noise and are comfortable with telephone use. However, because of their size, they may not have volume control adjustments and other features. Exceptions to this are the new digital units, which in some cases are self-adjusting.
In-the-canal. This type of hearing aid differs from the ‘Inside the ear’ types in that it does not fit as deeply in the ear canal. This enables it to have volume adjustment and other features. Because of the way it fits, it may not be suitable for small ears.
Half-shell. This style hearing aid is a slightly larger version of the ‘in the canal’ type and is appropriate for moderate to severe hearing loss. They will have features like volume adjustments, fit most ears, and be easier to handle because of their size.
Full shell (In-the-ear). Full shell, in-the-ear, style occupies the overall bowl-shaped area of a person’s outer ear and helps to address mild to severe hearing loss. It is however more visible, more susceptible to wind noise but, because of its larger batteries, will last longer.
Behind-the-ear. This type of hearing aid hooks over your ear and lies behind the ear. The unit picks up amplified sound and carries it to a molded earpiece that fits within your ear canal. It will accommodate most ages and people and is suitable for all types of hearing loss. Because of its size, it is the most visible of the hearing aid types, however, it can provide better sound amplification than the other types.
Open fit. These small behind-the-ear units convey sound through a small tube or wire to a dome or speaker within the ear canal. They are best for persons with mild to moderate high-frequency hearing loss where low-frequency hearing is normal. Since they leave the ear canal open, they do not plug the ear like small in-the-canal types. However, they do use small batteries that do affect the duration of their use.
Electronic Hearing Aids vs. Acoustic
With digital electronics now encompassing most electrical devices, the same is true for hearing aids. As a result, most of the older analog units are being phased out. With digital technology, incoming sound is converted into digital codes that are analyzed by a computer chip and adjusted according to your specific hearing requirements.
Hearing Aid Options
Today’s hearing aids feature options that can improve a patient’s ability to hear under specific conditions. Some key features include:
- Directional microphones to improve one’s ability to hear in an environment with substantial background noise
- Telephone adapters to make it easier to hear while on the telephone
- Bluetooth compatibility to provide a convenient interface for devices such as cell phones
Schedule a Hearing Aid Assessment
To make an appointment for a Hearing Aid assessment with one of our board-certified audiologists at one of our SoCal offices, give us a call at one of our southern California ENT clinics or make an appointment online today! We have offices in Newport Beach, Los Alamitos, Long Beach, and Huntington Beach.