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Digital Hearing Aids

By Stephanie Bryant, CHHA-BC Resource Centre

Digital hearing aids are the newest kind of aids. You may have heard about digital hearing aids. The difference between digital and ordinary analogue hearing aids is in the technology inside the aids and how they work. If you think about how compact discs have improved sound quality over records, you’ll get an idea of the difference between digital and analog sound. They can be behind-the-ear, in-the-ear or in-the-canal models.

ear1_fullHowever, digital hearing aids contain a tiny computer. The aid converts sound into a series of numbers – information that the computer can understand. Digital aids, therefore; have much more flexibility for processing sounds than analogue aids. Digital aids can be programmed and adjusted by your audiologist to respond to your particular lifestyle needs, so that you can hear better in different situations.

One of the biggest problems hearing aid wearers face is in hearing what they want to hear – such as conversation – when there is a lot of background noise. Digital aids are marketed as being able to give better sound when there is noise in the background. Most cut out some background noise, but it is worth remembering that some analogue aids are designed to do this, too.

Digital aids have other advantages as well. Some are designed so that they whistle less than analogue hearing aids, and they may also last longer than analogue hearing aids because they have fewer parts. They also process sound in different ways to make it easier to understand speech, even when there is no background noise. Like analogue hearing aids, digital hearing aids vary, and may have different features. Any features specific to your particular hearing need will be offered or discussed with your audiologist.

What’s That Ringing in My Ears? Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

by Jessica Perreault, CHHA National Office

Today’s world is a noisy place. Our cities are full of noise pollution! Sources include industrial noise, heavy traffic and loud portable music players. All the noise around us increases the risk that we will experience permanent hearing loss and/or tinnitus. Hearing loss is exactly that – permanent – it is rarely reversible. Hearing aids and cochlear implants help to cope, but do not “cure” hearing loss.

Tinnitus affects over 360,000 Canadians. Persons with tinnitus perceive sounds that do not really exist. Tinnitus is often described as a buzzing or ringing in the ears. However, individuals report a wide range of sounds – of varying durations and varying intensities. Sometimes the sounds are accompanied by pressure or pain in or around the ear or by a painful sensitivity to sounds. The impact of tinnitus ranges from annoying to debilitating.

While tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss, people with normal hearing can also be affected by it. Tinnitus is invisible and difficult to explain to others, adding to the frustration of those affected. The potential causes are many, but it is often difficult to identify the actual cause in an individual case. Many persons with tinnitus report that consuming caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, aspirin, or some other drugs sometimes makes their tinnitus temporarily worse. Other factors such as high-salt diets, stress, fatigue, loud noises, and even quiet environments may also contribute to an awareness of heightened levels of tinnitus.

There are ways to cope with tinnitus. Hearing aids, maskers, and various forms of stress-reduction and other forms of therapy are a few of the things that can be done to better cope with tinnitus specifically. It is important to be aware of what tinnitus is. This awareness raises the likelihood of early detection, which in turn increases the chances of slowing its progression as well as that of any associated hearing loss.

The goal at CHHA is to raise awareness of the hard of hearing community and educate individuals about hearing loss. To learn more about the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, conditions such as tinnitus, and what you can do to protect your hearing, call Voice: 604 795-9238 Toll-Free: 1-866-888-2442 (In BC Only).

This Press Release is from CHHA National Office, Ottawa, Ontario. All rights reserved