Hearing Aids Overview
Hearing aids are incredibly sophisticated and powerful electronic devices. They were developed throughout the 20th century and are currently in an exciting time of innovation and design. Hearing aids are used to amplify sound and provide a clearer sound signal to be registered by the brain. With hearing loss, signals may become muddled and speech recognition may suffer. Hearing aids essentially replicate the natural hearing process, by picking up sounds, amplifying them, and then sending a cleared up signal to the brain to be processed as sounds we recognize.
Hearing Aid Styles
There are several hearing aid styles, to meet both the diverse configurations of hearing loss and personal aesthetic requirements.
Behind-the-ear hearing aids are quite discreet, and treat a wide range of degrees of hearing loss. BTE hearing aids have their electronic components housed in a plastic casing that sits on the back of your ear, while a plastic tubing that delivers amplified sound connects the pieces to a mold that rests in your canal. Receiver-in-canal hearing aids look like BTE hearing aids; they differ in that the receiver rests in your ear canal.
In-the-ear hearing aids come in many different forms. You may recognize the ones that sit on the surface of the ear, whether in a full or half shell.
Other ITE hearing aids include invisible-in-canal or completely-in-canal, where the entire hearing aid is inserted and rests inside the canal.
Hearing Aid Manufacturers
At Preferred Hearing Centers, we offer many different hearing aid options from leading hearing aid manufacturers.
GN ReSound is a Danish manufacturer of hearing aids, founded in 1943. The company was built with the mission to help people rediscover hearing. For the past few decades, ReSound has been driven by this mission, developing technological advancements in hearing aid design and function. ReSound’s most popular hearing aid is the LiNX2, Made for iPhone hearing aid, which connects wirelessly to smartphones to open up accessibility.
Founded in 1956 in Denmark, Widex is known for their trademark “Widex Sound.” Widex hearing aids deliver natural sound quality, capturing voices in a crowd to whispers. Wide offers UNIQUE, DREAM, and SUPER hearing aids, all equipped with excellent sound quality, speech recognition, and the ability to focus on specific sounds. Widex hearing aids are wireless compatible. The Widex Zen Tinnitus Therapy program treats tinnitus in a standalone device or available in the above hearing aid models.
Unitron is a Canadian manufacturer of hearing aids, leading the charge from the Waterloo region known as “Canada’s Silicon Valley.” Unitron hearing aids are powered by the North Platform, a processing platform that provides wearers with a high decibel dynamic range and fidelity of sound. Unitron’s latest hearing aid is the Stride, available in BTE and ITE styles, with features that especially amplify conversation. The Moxi is a RIC model, while the MAX, a BTE model, treats severe to profound hearing loss.
Swiss manufacturer Phonak was founded in 1947 with the mission to reconnect people to their loved ones and passions in life through hearing instruments. Phonak has introduced the world’s first 24/7 hearing aid, the Lyric, which may be worn up to four months without removal or battery change. Phonak’s Venture Processing Platform assists with speech recognition and sound clarity in a variety of environments. Phonak hearing aid models are available in three main families: Audeo (RIC), Virto (ITE), and Bolero (BTE). Different technology levels are available in each family of hearing aids to treat various degrees of hearing loss.
Based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Starkey is one of the few American manufacturers of hearing aids. In 2015, Starkey was awarded the Silver Edison Award for the Halo Made for iPhone hearing aid, which allows wearers to stream FaceTime, phone calls, music, and other media directly to their ears. The Z Series, another family of wireless hearing aids, focuses on speech recognition and the elimination of whistling and feedback. The new Muse Made for Life hearing aid features the Synergy Processing Platform, allowing wearers to hear the subtleties of life.
Founded in 1904 in Denmark, Oticon is one of the world’s oldest manufacturers of hearing aids. Oticon is known for their groundbreaking BrainHearing Technology, based on four main features: Spatial Sound, Free Focus, SpeechGuard E, and YouMatic. These features work together to provide wearers with the ability to choose and focus on sounds from the environment, with improved speech recognition and personalization. Oticon’s newest hearing aid is the Opn, which has been clinically proven to reduce the listening effort.
Signia is the newest brand from Sivantos Group, parent company of trusted hearing aid manufacturer Siemens. Signia’s Primax is a brand-new device, proven to reduce listening effort by building up Siemens’ successful binaural processing platforms. Primax also introduces new features such as SpeechMaster, for improved speech recognition; HD Music, for music lovers; and EchoShield, to protect sounds in difficult acoustic environments. Primax is available in Ace, Pure (RIC), Motion (BTE), and Insio (ITE) hearing aids from Signia.
Founded in 1990, Audina is a hearing aid manufacturer based in the US – a privately owned company with a comprehensive product line to accommodate all hearing loss needs. Audina is driven by their mission to continually improve their products and services to their customers, with exceptional quality and an enthusiastic customer service attitude. Audina offers a large catalog of hearing aids, ranging from open fit to BTE to ITC to custom fit hearing aids. Audina’s hearing aids offer water resistant technology with P2i nano-coating.