Hearing instruments - the agony of choice

There are many different hearing systems to choose from. This makes it possible to find a suitable hearing aid for the individual case.

Hearing instruments - the agony of choice

Product Overview

Hearing instruments - the agony of choice

  • Technology in the smallest format

  • Space advantage: In the ear or behind it

  • Inner Life: Digital or Analog

  • Rarity: hearing glasses & Co.

  • Cochlear implants (CI)

  • Noiser / Masker

Technology in the smallest format

A hearing aid consists essentially of three components: a tiny microphone, an amplifier and a miniature speaker. The microphone picks up sounds from the environment and converts them into electrical signals. The amplifier raises the different frequencies. Then the loudspeaker directs the prepared sound waves directly into the ear.

Read also

  • Fensterruptur
  • Noise hypersensitivity (hyperacusis)
  • Behind-the-ear devices (BTE)
  • Hörbrillen
  • Hearing aids - individual programming
  • Hearing aids - cleaning and care
  • Hearing aids for children
  • Hearing systems - the selection criteria
  • In-ear devices (IdO)

Space advantage: In the ear or behind it

In-the-ear devices (IdO): These models are so small that they can be placed completely in the ear. They are therefore particularly inconspicuous, but not suitable for high-grade deafness.

Behind-the-ear devices (BTE): These are the most commonly used devices. The technique is stowed in a banana-shaped plastic case, which the person behind the auricle carries. A thin tube connects the device to the ear canal.

Inner Life: Digital or Analog

Even more crucial than the shape of the device is the technology that is in it. Here the trend definitely goes to the microcomputer. But even analog devices are still worn.

Analog hearing aids: The signal amplification and adjustment of such hearing systems work analogously. High and low tones can be adjusted to a degree with tiny screwdrivers. These are discontinued models that are barely sold and not further developed.

Programmable analogue hearing aids: Here the signals are amplified analogously. However, the frequencies are individually programmed on a computer. This allows, for example, a very accurate adaptation to the sound ranges that are missing the hard of hearing.

Digital hearing aids: The sound is digitally converted and amplified. This allows a very accurate adjustment of the different frequencies. Noise and background noise can be detected and suppressed, the language is amplified. Modern models automatically adapt to the particular listening situation.

Rarity: hearing glasses & Co.

Some hearing aids are only suitable for very special cases. They are therefore much rarer than BTEs or IDOs.

Hörbrillen: It makes sense to use a pair of glasses for those who regularly wear glasses anyway and are deaf in one ear and deaf on the other. Both brackets of the glasses frame are equipped with hearing aids that are networked with each other. The signals from both microphones can be routed to the better ear.

Bone conduction hearing aids: They are usually installed in eyeglasses (as in the case of the hearing glasses), but can also be worn over a headband or a bracket. A bone conduction hearing aid amplifies the sound conduction over the skull bone. The vibrations of the bone lead to movements of the fluid in the cochlea, which irritates the auditory cells there.

The downside: they have to be pressed relatively tightly against the bones, which over time can lead to headaches and bruises. This hearing aid is useful if the sound transmission in the middle ear, for example, by chronic middle ear infections is no longer possible.

Bone-anchored hearing aids: Also in this device, as in the bone conduction hearing aid, a malfunctioning middle ear is bypassed. It works on the same principle. A titanium screw is implanted in the cranial bone and the hearing aid is placed on it (BAHA = Bone Anchored Hearing Aid). It is more comfortable to wear than the glasses because it does not have to be pressed constantly. Also, the sound transmission to the bone is better.

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    Do you hear bad?

    In the course of life, the performance of all the senses worsens - hearing also decreases. Deafness is not only at the higher age. Find out what else can be behind it and why fast action is always worthwhile.

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    Nature sounds adé

    Bird chirping, crickets or the sound of the sea - high and low tones are the first victims of age-related hearing loss. Moreover, spoken words are worse, especially when the environment is loud.Blame is the lack of transmission of sound waves through the so-called hair cells. The tooth of time gnaws at these sensory cells. This happens slowly, from about the age of 50, the hearing decreases. Although many are reluctant - going to the doctor is very important now.

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    Hello hearing aid!

    The doctor can test how severe the restriction is. And: he can do something about it - prescribe a hearing aid. The devices wrongly have a bad image - today there are many small and inconspicuous models. With their help, the deaf person can again participate in social life - and he prevents his brain from unlearning the processing of the sounds. Basically, the longer you wait with the hearing aid, the harder the conversion is.

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    Too much noise

    Not only age can put the sensory cells, but also noise. Noise deafness (chronic noise trauma) is caused by a long-term effect of high sound levels on the ear. It is irrelevant whether it is burdensome noise or a voluntary "drone". The hearing can indeed repair the consequences of large volumes again. But it takes rest breaks. That's why it's important to take some acoustic breaks.

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    Ossified hearing path

    In some people who hear badly, the sound does not arrive at the sensory cells. This is the case, for example, in patients with otosclerosis. This harden and ossify parts of the ear and gradually block the transmission of sound. Again, dear sooner than later to the doctor! The sooner the otosclerosis is treated, the better the prognosis. The hearing problem is solved with an operation.

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    Clogged ear

    A look in the ear also tells the doctor whether perhaps only the "Hörgang" is laid, for example through earwax. Old people and men produce large quantities of it. So easily grafts form, which close the ear canal. A professional ear cleaning brings here quickly a better acoustics - up to ten decibels can be won, experts estimate. Occasionally, doctors also fish peas, glass beads or insects out of the ear canal.

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    Inflamed ear

    Also, acute or chronic inflammation, for example, from the middle ear or in the air-filled secondary spaces of the middle ear (mastoiditis), may hinder the sound conduction in the ear. An inflammation is usually easy to identify as a cause of hearing problems, because sufferers usually have pain in or around the ear. In order not to carry any permanent damage, here too applies: from the doctor! As a rule, an antibiotic quickly helps against the symptoms.

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    Broken eardrum

    A thin skin protects the middle ear from the outside world - the eardrum. Direct (e.g., ear sticks) or indirect (e.g., explosion) trauma may injure the eardrum. Not only does it hurt a lot, the hearing is also suddenly worse. Small tympanic membrane defects usually regrow on their own - the doctor has to mend larger ones.

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    Processing errors in the brain

    In some cases, the sensory cells are completely intact and the sound waves are also correctly transmitted to the brain - but they are not properly evaluated there. The result: the affected person hears the sounds, but they tell him nothing. Reason can be, for example, stroke. Especially if the hearing abruptly decreases - quickly to the doctor! He can prevent worse with an immediately initiated therapy worse.

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    Loss of hearing - off to the doctor!

    Likewise abruptly, the hearing is impaired in hearing loss, either on two or only one ear. If you suspect a hearing loss, go immediately to the doctor! The sooner the therapy starts, the better the prognosis. Reason for the hearing loss are probably circulatory disorders in the inner ear - accordingly, attempts during treatment to stimulate the blood circulation.

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    Meniere's disease

    But there are also chronic diseases that affect the hearing. An example: Meniere's disease. This is a disease of the inner ear, which is probably caused by an overpressure in this area. The three main symptoms are unpredictable attacks of sudden vertigo, tinnitus and a reduction in hearing. Meniere's disease is not curable, but medications ease the symptoms.

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    Hearing problems caused by drugs

    Very few are aware that there are also drugs that may cause worse hearing as a side effect. Examples are quinine (for malaria), acetylsalicylic acid or certain antibiotics. The active ingredients affect the metabolism in the ear, and thus the hearing - especially if they are taken over a longer period of time. Those who suspect their medication should not simply stop it but talk to their doctor.

Cochlear implants (CI)

For the deaf or severely deaf people, inner ear prostheses, so-called cochlear implants, or CI for short, are suitable. They partly take over the role of the cochlea.

Noiser / Masker

Noisians look like normal hearing aids but have a different job. They produce a "white noise" that is supposed to cover the ear noises of tinnitus patients. If, as is often the case, there is a hearing loss in addition to tinnitus, a combination device of noise and hearing system can be adapted.

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