Just as everybody is getting used to the word “Digital”, you will start to see the emergence of the term “Open” in relation to hearing and hearing aid fittings.
The premise is relatively straightforward. Traditional fittings use a (largely) sealed earmould to drive as much sound into the ear as required to restore the missing hearing. For moderate to severe hearing losses this provides a good solution and a good degree of hearing is usually restored.However, for milder and moderate high-tone losses the results can be less positive.
Open hearing systems now use either the micro-tubing (pictured) or a small speaker in the ear canal to enhance the available sound, accentuating the sharper parts of speech. Significantly the speaker (receiver) in the ear or RITE configuration now fits most hearing losses, with power versions delivering as much power as a powerful behind the ear aid.
RITE configured hearing systems (like the Brite pictured opposite) offer the benefits of not blocking the ear with none of the problems associated with thin tubing: like distortion. Significantly, they are the biggest growing part of the hearing aid market due to the superb wearer acceptance and excellent performance in noise.
BRAND NEW – The Unitron Fuse(TM) now features the excellent comfort and end ease of use in a fully ITC (In-the-canal) package. This crossover instrument uses the same tips as the RIC devices above for enhanced comfort – information about the fuse can be found on Unitron’s site here .
To give you some idea of how this affects you the user, we need to explain that most (85%+) hearing losses are this type, affecting between one in seven of the average population under 55 and three in seven of those over 55. The other difficulty with this type of loss is that it doesn’t always cause everybody the same level of impairment.
Example: A husband and wife. The wife hears her husband well in most situations, but struggles a little in background noise. The husband really struggles with his wife’s voice and is worse in background noise. The TV is turned up quite high so they both can hear it OK. So who has a hearing loss?
They both might have Moderate Presbyacusis (high-tone loss) at exactly the same level, its just that the husband’s voice is clearer at lower tones, so the wife doesn’t appear to struggle to such an extent. Particular situations, like talking between rooms are especially challenging for the husband’s hearing, though the wife assumes that because she can hear him, he can equally hear her – which is not the case.
At Celtic Hearing we specialise in open fittings, which attempt to bring clarity to your hearing without the undesirable effects of a traditional hearing aid. Specifically we aim to:
1. Improve speech clarity.
2. Remove the occlusion effect – the nasty sensation of having your ears blocked that makes your speech sound hollow or nasal.
3. Amplify the sounds that will help your speech understanding.
4. Let the brain decide what is a noise and what you need to hear.
5. Provide a discrete, cosmetically acceptable solution.
Let us use our experience to guide you through the maze of open fitting hearing systems to deliver the best choice and value from the latest technology available.
Examples of the latest systems incorporating the ‘Open’ technology can be seen on our hearing aids page.