Rechargeable hearing aid batteries are a smart idea – in theory. But are they sensible in real life? The first rechargeable hearing aid batteries were large (meaning that they could only be used in over-the-ear type aids), took hours to recharge, and did not hold that charge for very long. Instead of the 12 to 14 hours of use that hearing aid wearers need, these early batteries commonly lasted only 5 to 6 hours.
The technique originally used as a hearing aid remains in use to this day, the instinctual desire to cup a hand behind your ear to better collect sounds so that you can hear them. Born out of necessity, the earliest tools used to aid hearing came about in the early 17th century. They were the long trumpets that sailors held to their ears to hear the calls of other sailors on distant vessels. Smaller versions of these ear trumpets were used in the later seventeenth century to help people with hearing loss; they were of the same type – a cone or trumpet inserted into the ear and then pointed at the sound. Another form of 17th century hearing aid was called the Metal Ear, and that’s exactly what it was – a pair outsized ears fashioned out of metal and worn over the wearer’s own ears. In the 19th century smaller forms of these acoustic horns were marketed as Auricles or Cornets. These devices were portable, but cumbersome. The end collecting the sounds was generally placed in a strategic orientation on a table or carried in a purse. A flexible tube then carried the sound to the ear.
As a new hearing aid owner, you’re likely to be interested in the different accessories and add-ons that you can get. In this article we offer an overview of common hearing aid accessories that you may be considering. No matter which type or model of hearing aid you wear, the following accessories and “add ons,” are quite standard. The first thing you should think of is less an accessory than a necessity; stock up on batteries, because you are going to need them. If your hearing aid uses disposable batteries, they last an average of 5 to 14 days, depending on how many hours a day you wear the aids.
When trying to understand the difference between analog and digital hearing aids, you need to first understand the history of analog versus digital, and the different ways that they process and amplify sounds. Analog hearing aids came out first, and were the norm in the majority of hearing aids for a long time. Subsequently, with the arrival of digital signal processing (DSP) technology, digital hearing aids also began to emerge. At this point, the majority (90%) of the hearing aids sold in the US are digital, although analog hearing aids continue to be offered because they’re often less expensive, and also because some people have a preference for them.
Hearing aids and mobile phones have not always gotten along as well as they do today. The complex electronics in both products often triggered static, lost words or screeching interference noises. Thankfully, advances in technology and new government regulations have made the question “Will this cell phone work with my hearing aid?” simpler to answer. To help consumers shop for the right hearing aid compatible cell phone, the new regulations include a standard rating system and labeling requirement.
Given the cost of quality hearing aids, lots of people naturally wonder whether they need two hearing aids, or if they could make do with only one. In the majority of situations, the advantages of using two hearing aids exceed that additional expense, but there are particular situations where this is not the case. For starters, if your hearing is fully normal in one ear, you clearly don’t need a second hearing aid for that ear. Also, if you have completely lost your hearing in one ear, and are experiencing total deafness in it, wearing a hearing aid in that ear is not going to be effective. People that have chronic ear infections may opt for a single hearing aid to avoid aggravating the recurring infection. Or, if you have a specific form of hearing loss where the speech is heard garbled, a hearing aid in that ear may make your comprehension worse by amplifying the garbled speech.
A frequent question asked by patients being fitted for hearing aids concerns whether the hearing aids which are designed to help them hear weak sounds will make the loud noises too loud for their ears.Thankfully there is a comforting answer to this question. Put simply, so long as they are properly fitted and adjusted modern hearing aids are designed so that they won’t take already loud sounds and make them even louder, potentially harming the wearer’s ears. We can’t overemphasize how critical the phrase in bold is; this is the reason you should have professional help with choosing and fitting your hearing aids.
Even though it might seem to be a straightforward question to ask how long hearing aid batteries will last, it isn’t. How long hearing aid batteries last depends upon a large number of variables. How long a battery will last depends on who manufactured the battery, and can even vary across hearing aid models from the exact same manufacturer. How long your batteries will last will also depend on the way in which you use your hearing aid – hearing aids require constant power when they are on, so the more hours of the day you use yours, the faster you’ll use up batteries.
One of our most frequently asked questions is, “My hearing aid is damaged or is no longer working – should I have it repaired, or get a new one?” Given only that limited information, we have to answer honestly, “It depends.” Picking between repair or replace doesn’t have a one perfect answer. It really depends on the specific situation and the requirements of the individual asking the question. An important thing to take into account is that all hearing aids – irrespective of how high-end they were or how well they were built – will at times start to work less well, or break.
There is a lot of confusion with regards to the difference between these two categories of devices, and that confusion is increased by how many advertisements floating around for inexpensive personal sound amplifiers (PSAs), compared with how few you see for hearing aids. The reason you don’t see very many advertisements for hearing aids is because they are medical devices, monitored by the Food & Drug Administration, and not available for purchase without an individual prescription from a licensed doctor, hearing instrument specialist or audiologist. Hearing aids are for those who have hearing problems ranging from slight to extensive. They are adjusted for each individual person to specifically address their distinctive hearing impairment as established by the dispenser or audiologist.