Types of Hearing Aid

Surgical intervention may be the optimal treatment for many individuals with hearing impairment, but patient preference and their unique medical circumstances may dictate an alternate course. Recent advances in digital hearing aid technology have vastly improved the lives of millions of individuals with the hearing loss that typically develops in their 50’s and 60’s, sometimes earlier depending on genetics. There are many types of hearing devices, and at The NY ENT Center, we fit every patient with the right device for their needs.

Halo™ Hearing Device

The Halo™ device is a hearing aid that works with your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. It’s simple to use and can be incredibly convenient for modern life. A tiny receiver rests on the ear and syncs up digitally with an app called TruLink™ Hearing Control, available free in Apple’s App Store. Together, the system can help people hear phone calls, conversations and even music more clearly.

The Halo™ hearing device, created by Starkey Hearing Technologies, can help you:

  • Remotely control your hearing aids with your iPhone
  • Hear clearly and comfortably amid noise
  • Eliminate whistling and buzzing
  • Hear high-frequency sounds (such as women’s and children’s voices)
  • Stream calls from your iPhone to your hearing aids via wireless technology
  • Stream FaceTime conversations and music to your hearing aids
  • Adjust personal settings simply in response to your location and current needs

Although the Halo™ hearing device is a “smart” system that can hook up to your favorite technology, it can work independently as a standalone hearing aid that helps cancel out feedback, manage noise and more.

Implantable Hearing Devices

Implantable hearing devices are available to address both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, particularly in patients for whom traditional hearing aids are an undesirable or ineffective option. New technology has made great advances in hearing rehabilitation, and promising new devices are being developed for FDA-approval that may revolutionize the options for hearing-impaired people.

Implantable hearing devices can restore a patient’s ability to distinguish and interpret sounds and speech, ultimately having a profound impact on the patient’s quality of life. However, implantable hearing devices are not appropriate for every person with hearing loss. The NY ENT’s specialists employ rigorous screening criteria to evaluate whether a patient should undergo surgery for an implantable device. It is important to note that implantable hearing devices require the patient to make a significant commitment with the support of her/his family and friends. After surgical implantation, some patients also receive auditory therapy to maximize their ability to use the device.

Unlike standard hearing aids, BAHAs have no outer ear component and work particularly well for those with congenital anomalies in the structure of their outer ears, such as malformed or undeveloped pinnas or ear canals.

How they Work

Bone anchored hearing aids are implanted and work through direct bone conduction. BAHAs have been successfully implanted for people with sensorineural hearing loss limited to one side. This has made a tremendous difference to enhance one’s ability to hear from the “bad side.”

The BAHA transfers sound to a functioning cochlea via bone conduction. The processor vibrates the implanted fixture, which vibrates the skull and other bones along a pathway to the cochlea. The cochlea then performs its normal function, converting the vibrations into electrical impulses that the brain can interpret as sound.

The BAHA implantation procedure is usually done under general anesthesia and causes very little pain or discomfort. A titanium fixture is surgically implanted into the skull bone behind the ear. After the fixture has fully integrated with the living bone, usually three months after insertion, the patient is fitted for a processor, which snaps onto the implanted fixture.

CIs were developed in the 1960s to assist those with profound deafness due to sensorinerual hearing loss, and have been FDA-approved since 1985. While the CI will not restore normal hearing, it can give a person with severe to profound hearing loss an enormous benefit by providing auditory stimulation that was unachievable with hearing aids alone. This provides an enhanced understanding of his or her environment and can greatly help the understanding of speech.

How it Works

When the hair cells of the cochlea have been damaged or destroyed and can not convert mechanical energy from the middle ear into electrical impulses, a cochlear implant can create impulses in the cochlea that the brain can learn to interpret as sound.

The device consists of a microphone and speech processor worn outside the body, similar to a traditional hearing aid, as well as a transmitter that is surgically placed below the skin behind the ear. This transmitter sends impulses to electrodes implanted in the cochlea, which then travel up the auditory nerve to the brain.