Let’s learn about the different hearing devices, including assistive listening devices, in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids, and canal-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids. These devices can help you hear clearly and communicate with others. A microphone captures the sound and converts it into an electric signal sent to an amplifier. The amplifier boosts the signal’s strength and transmits it into your ear through a speaker.
Assistive listening devices
Assistive listening devices such as EarPros, are available in a variety of styles. Some are designed to amplify sounds in the background, while others are specifically designed to augment the use of hearing aids and cochlear implants. AAC devices, or augmentative and alternative communication, can help people with hearing loss express themselves verbally. AAC devices can range from a simple picture board to a computer program synthesizing speech from text. Some devices, like smoke detectors or doorbells, can even alert the wearer to certain sounds.
Assistive listening devices are legally required in many countries. In some countries, they are necessary for public buildings and are a legal requirement in places of employment. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 2008, for example, requires public places to install assistive listening devices. They must also meet internationally governed standards, such as IEC 60118-4. While both advantages exist, induction loop systems may be more appropriate for large venues.
In-the-ear hearing devices (ITCs) are the preferred solution for those with severe hearing loss. Low-profile devices can either sit behind the ear or on top. They route sound down into the ear canal and are available in a variety of colors and flashy designs. Unfortunately, most of these devices come with a standard button battery and must be replaced every three to twenty days. As a result, rechargeable batteries have become increasingly popular.
In-the-ear hearing devices come in various styles, including entire shell and half-shell. Full-shell in-the-ear devices fit the upper part of the bowl-shaped ear, while half-shell models fit the lower portion. As a result, they can be easily adjusted to accommodate various levels of hearing loss, including severe and profound deafness. In addition, full-shell in-the-ear hearing devices are easier to handle and offer volume control.
Canal in-the-canal (CIC)
The most important characteristic of a Canal in-the-Canal hearing device is its proximity to the eardrum, allowing the device to process sounds in a manner that mimics the normal functioning of the ear. In addition, because it is located close to the eardrum, CIC hearing devices can improve localization detection, making them easier to insert and remove. Nevertheless, they may not work with all types of instruments.
However, CIC hearing devices require more maintenance than other hearing aids. In addition, the microphone port on a CIC hearing device, located near the ear canal’s entrance, is susceptible to damage from ear wax ingression and other causes. These causes can range from excessive talk or chewing to changes in the canal’s cartilage. Therefore, people with major hearing loss should consider other options before purchasing a CIC device.
Infrared hearing devices
Infrared hearing devices use infrared light to transmit sound, so they’re instrumental in situations where human ears cannot hear sound. The transmitter sends a signal to the receiver, which decodes the signal back into sound. Users wear a neck loop or silhouette inductor to convert the infrared signal into a magnetic signal that can be heard. Because infrared light cannot pass through walls or ceilings, infrared systems can be used in classrooms, movie theaters, and courtrooms.
These devices use an infrared light signal to transmit audio and video signals to the hearing aid wearer. Infrared systems work with TTY and video relay interpreting services, using text or video to deliver audio. Generally, students with infrared systems should sit at the front of the class and turn off their devices when not in use. Students should turn off their devices while changing a microphone’s setting or detaching it from clothing.