Hearing Aids Reviews 2013
Hearing Aids Reviews
There are an enormous number of hearing aids available on the market, use this guide to provide some hearing aid reviews and information on the many variations of hearing devices to help you get started.
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Hearing Aids: A medical device regulated by the United States, the hearing aid is a safe and common way to boost the volume of certain audio signals that a person hears at certain frequencies. Hearing aid brands can vary greatly between analog to digital, large to small, and from behind the ear to in the ear and of course with the prices, being from very expensive to somewhat cheap. While there are an enormous number to choose from, carefully listing out exactly what you are looking for, such as a low price or a small size, can help you zoom in on what will be the best fit for you.
The Make up of a Hearing Aid
Hearing aids are generally positioned behind or in the ear. A basic device will contain a microphone, a loudspeaker (or “receiver”), a battery, and electronic circuitry that processes the acoustic information received by the microphone. It is the circuitry that turns the sound into “information” that can then be manipulated, made louder in certain frequency ranges, and then transmitted into the individual’s ear through the loudspeaker. All hearing aids are analog or digital, which in turn either have adjustable or programmable circuitry.
Analog vs. Digital Hearing Aids
Analog and digital signals are quite different, and this translates into different hearing aid configurations. Fundamentally, hearing aids can process acoustic signals that they receive at the microphone either digitally or analog.
An analog circuit is composed of a fixed electronic circuit that can be adjusted or programmed. An audiologist (the medical professional responsible for diagnosing hearing problems) determines the level of hearing loss experienced by an individual. Then, he or she determines the frequencies at which the incoming acoustic signals must be boosted. Next, the audiologist adjusts the gain of the aid, which in the case of the analog device involves modifying the physical circuitry and hardware of the aid. Thus, each analog hearing aid is custom made by a laboratory to meet the individual needs of a given patient.
- Digital Hearing Aids:
A digital hearing aid involves both an audio circuit and control circuits that are fully digital. Thus, instead of relying on gradations in electronic intensity, these devices transmit as ones and zeros—digitally—much in the way that any other electronic device might. As one might suspect, these hearing devices are more recent innovations than the analog variety. One can input programs and additional features into digital hearing aids that were not possible in the prior generations of hearing aids. Both hearing aids, one on either ear, can, for example, communicate wirelessly to ensure that balance is maintained and that the differences associated with spatial perception are maintained in hearing—a common issue with those with hearing problems.
Should You Buy Analog or Digital?
In general, consult your medical professional as to which hearing aid to purchase. Naturally, digital aids are more expensive, so there are many cases where the hearing aid configuration is simple enough to be implemented in an analog device. On the other hand, it is often affordable to buy a single digital device that is, itself, rather versatile and that can be programmed over time as hearing continues to deteriorate or improve (using The Hearing Fix).
Digital devices often contain special features to enhance the overall effectiveness of the hearing aid. Special programs are used to reduce feedback, which produces a rather unsavory “whistling” noise. With many analog devices, background noise is an issue, since analog devices lack sophisticated gating mechanisms to attenuate such unwanted noise. Digital devices are often more sensitive to the overall environment, adjusting the hearing aid’s settings so that it performs better in noisy settings versus quiet ones, or better in music settings versus normal speech/vocal settings.
Digital hearing aids can actually integrate with other digital devices very effectively. Personal MP3 players, mobile cell phones, and other devices can easily integrate wirelessly, granting an ease of use unavailable to earlier models. Speech recognition and caller ID are fully compatible with some of the newest models. There is a large market of amplified phones specially developed for the hearing impaired.
Despite this, there are plenty of options for those shopping for cheap and discount hearing aids, but there are a few options for those who wish to settle for the analog models. Analog models come in two major varieties: adjustable and programmable. (All digital hearing aids are programmable.) Adjustable devices contain circuits that are carefully configured for the individual wearer. The lab constructing the aid sets gain and balance of the device. Specifications for this type of hearing device are set completely before the wearer receives the aid. Thus, there is comparatively little that the end-user can alter besides the overall volume. This has its upsides and its downsides. As an upside, this makes the user interface very constant and simple—the only changes to be made are whether one would like the volume louder or not. This is perfect for the less savvy of wearers. The downside is that any alteration in the instrument either requires a new aid or trip to the lab.
The programmable hearing aid eliminates the need to purchase many separate devices. With this sort of aid, a stand-alone computer can be used to program simple changes into the hearing aid over time. The aid can also be programmed during the manufacturing process, allowing for a greater degree of latitude with these hearing aids.
Types of Hearing Aids
- Invisible in canal hearing aids IIC
Theseare excellent options for those requiring a hearing aid but wish to maintain a level of discreetness in the area surrounding the ear. These aids are not visible—even when one peers directly into the ear canal.
- In the ear aids – ITE
ITE aids are a less invasive but more noticeable option. These aids are visible when someone is standing relatively close to one’s ear. It is perhaps a good idea to purchase an in the ear aid if one values a level discreetness while maintaining the freedom to remove the device.
- Behind The Ear – BTE
Perhaps the most popular version of aids is the behind-the-ear aid. This device is noticeable when the ear is viewed, though these devices tend to be cheaper and more functional—you are not paying for the added aesthetic convenience but, rather, for added functionality.
Hearing Aids Reviews of 2013: The Brands
- Phonak Hearing Aids
Phonak hearing aids offer a full offering of in-ear and behind-the-ear devices for a variety of applications. The Phonak Ambra, to start, is one of the finest devices on the market, and Phonak considers it their flagship, state-of-the-art device. The Phonak Ambra comes in three different styles, including behing-the-ear, micro behind-the-ear, and custom in-ear. This device is ideal for someone with high levels of hearing loss.
The Phonak Cassia is an excellent option for someone seeking the best in affordability and performance. These devices are a slight step down from the superior performance of the Ambra, but they nevertheless deliver reliable sound quality to those with high levels of hearing loss. Additionally, like the Ambra, this 2012 model is available in three different styles. For those seeking a basic hearing aid, the Phonak Dalia is an excellent inexpensive hearing aid.
The Naida S line from Phonak presents an excellent spread of higher-end and middle-of-the-road models for those with moderate hearing loss. This model does not come an in-ear option, so it is not recommended for those seeking an option that is absolutely discreet. This model does an excellent job, with its Stereo Zoom feature, of focusing on who is speaking to you at any given time and giving them special focus as you listen. In all Phonak devices offer versatility with water resistant options and ensure, with their digital fleet of phonak hearing aids, that you receive superior sound fidelity.
- Oticon Hearing Aids
Oticon, like Phonak, is a well-regarded name in the modern hearing aid industry. Oticon offers devices which it claims can help you “hear more while doing less.” A perfect example is the Agil unit by Oticon. Even in difficult audio/vocal situations, this unit is meant to create crystal-clear sound with less cognitive effort on the part of the wearer. It can indeed be quite exhausting to decipher the incoming signals from a hearing aid. The Agil reduces this burden, incorporating its Spatial Sound 2.0 feature, which supports the brain’s natural way of recognizing speech by managing noise and background sounds—a feature enabled by the wireless cross-talk between both digital hearing aids. The Speech Guard feature automatically adjusts volume levels in different environments, so that the volume levels are not held constant between, say, a noisy restaurant and a quiet home. Finally, this unit has a Connect Plus feature, which allows the user additional access to quality sound when using the Streamer function.
The 2013 Intiga hearing aid boasts a rather small body that is perfect for more discreet and fashionable wear. This device contains a high-speed processor that works in cooperation with your brain to help you recognize and understand softer sounds with greater acuity and with less effort. The Oticon Acto is another option for discreet wearing. This device combines superb acuity with comfort and aesthetic appeal. Wireless connection allows this hearing aid to connect to your favorite music device, phone, or handheld electronic equipment. This hearing aid is small enough to nearly vanish behind your ear.
For a hearing aid that offers the essentials of good hearing, the Oticon Ino is an excellent choice. This discount hearing aid allows you to hear with all the state-of-the-art acoustic research that Oticon has to offer at a lower price. If your hearing deficit is not too severe, and if your audiologist believes you simply need hearing enhancement, then look no further than the Ino. It is a small aid that packs automatic directionality recognition, feedback cancellation, and noise management to minimize the types of sounds you do not want to hear and to maximize the clarity of the sounds you do.
- Beltone Hearing Aids
Belton hearing aids combine high-end research with high levels of customization. Beltone Hearing Aids Reviews show that the True line of hearing aids is the flagship line of hearing aids from Beltone. The special technology in these hearing aids is patterned after the ear’s natural ability to smoothly adapt to alterations in the ambient environment. Micro-processors, specially designed for these hearing aids, intelligently adapt to your surroundings as you go about your day so that you can enjoy your conversations and listening ventures without constantly adjusting your hearing aid. The downside will beltone is that they spend large amounts of money on overhead and advertising, which will end up passing that extra cost on to the consumer.
The Beltone True aids include behind-the-ear, micro-behind-the-ear, and in-ear varieties. The receiver-in-ear style is one of the most popular of the Beltone styles. A very small component of the aid sits behind the ear and remains barely visible. There are four general models—the Belton True 17, 9, 6, and 3. Each of these provides anywhere from 6 to 17 sound processing channels (the more channels, the more “life-like” the sound). Additionally, the higher-end models (17 and 9) have 4 environment programs, whereas the lower models only have 2. All of the models have some form of Speech Spotter programming, allowing the device to hone in on the person that is speaking at any given moment. The upper-level models have a Speech Spotter Pro.
Directionality is also completely variable with different models, granting the wearer anywhere from basic coverage to complete, 15-point directionality. Other Beltone hearing aids, like the Beltone Access, are very affordably priced and allow people with less correction need for major functionality to have an easier time in everyday listening situations.
Century Hearing Aids:
Century is our personal favorite of all hearing devices. They are one of the few companies that realize that these devices are simple and really should not cost as much as they frequently do. Low cost does not have to equal low quality. The company is owned by a respected man in the industry who always aims to maximize customer satisfaction.
Some highlights of Century Hearing Aids:
- Save lots of money
- 60-day trial
- 100% Money back guarantee
- No restocking fee
- Free shipping
- Free batteries
- Can order online
- Different fittings for individuals.
CLICK HERE to read more about Century Products.
Buy Hearing Aids Online
You can easily buy a discount hearing aid online. However, before you purchase a device over the internet, we advise you to speak with your audiologist about your condition and to receive routine reviews to ensure that your hearing aid is working well for you. Digital hearing aids are a modern marvel that allow those who have imperfect hearing to experience one of the most vital aspects of the perceptual world.
We have received a lot of information from our friends at The Hearing Loss Pill. Please feel free to stop by and read their full descriptions and hearing aid reviews here. Thanks!