In the simplest terms, a hearing aid is nothing more than a microphone to pick up sound and a speaker to deliver that sound to the hearing aid wearer's ear.
Of course, in between microphone and speaker there's digital circuitry that reduces unwanted noise, automatically adjusts volume to change with listening environments, adapts to the preferences of the user and is either discreet or ear bling for the latest generation of hearing aid users who want to show off their devices in colors like Midnight Blue and Emerald Green.
However, even with all of that internal circuitry, a hearing aid is basically a microphone and a speaker that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes:
Completely in Canal (CIC) devices are the smallest and most discreet. Because they fit completely inside the user's ear canal, these devices are virtually invisible to the outside world.
In-the-Ear (ITE) hearing aids fit into the ear canal and the bowl of the outer ear. These devices are popular with many hearing aid wearers because they strike a balance between functionality and comfort.
Behind-the Ear (BTE) devices are the hearing aids we usually think about when we think of a hearing aid. These devices rest behind the ear and are connected to the ear canal via plastic tubing and a custom earmold. BTEs are often the preferred hearing aid option for many wearers for one reason: comfort. BTEs also have the potential to employ open ear fitting which means sound is more natural (including the sound of ones own voice) and the wearer is able to use what hearing capability s/he has.
There's a device to fit the hearing needs and comfort preferences of any hearing aid wearer. Unfortunately, many new consumers don't give hearing and wearing comfort much consideration. Until it's too late. At this point, these buyers have a hearing device that will improve hearing. Its just so darned uncomfortable.
Some users of CIC and ITE devices complain of feelings of stuffiness. After all, the users ear canal is blocked by the hearing aid so what would you expect? Other CIC and ITE wearers prefer these models and adapt quickly to the processed sound delivered by these tiny computers for the ears.
Hearing comfort is critical to the effective use of a hearing aid. If the sound is too loud or garbled, or the device produces feedback, pops, clicks and other annoying noises, no one is going to use a device like that. Just too much of a pain.
Open Ear Technology and Bernafon
In a recent interview, representatives from Bernafon spoke of the steps the company has taken to improve wearing comfort through the use of open ear technology.
Two years ago, Bernafon was on the forefront of technology when it introduced its Swiss Ear, which was a channel-free technology. Swiss Ear was ideal for an open ear fit product. They developed an open tube fit kit specific to the Swiss Ear product and were very successful with it.
Still, as more and more options were available for open fit hearing aids, issues would come up with needing multiple fitting kits for the various models of hearing aids that also would account for variations in ear size. That's the reason Bernafon developed the SPIRA flex kit.
Bernafons SPIRAflex system
The idea was that there should be ONE kit that dispensing audiologists and hearing aid dispensers have at arms reach, to open that kit and know that all the pieces are going to fit the Bernafon products. That is the only box they have to open.
That means, regardless of the shape and configuration of the patients outer ear and canal, Bernafons SPIRA flex will fit the first time, reducing repeat visits to the audiologists office for minor adjustments. Who's got the time for that?
Universal open fitting system
This kit easily fits 85 to 90% of all ears and hearing losses for the product that it attaches to. So, while we don't claim 100%, we certainly designed the pieces to have maximum fitting benefit. The SPIRA flex kit actually now fits five of our products. So you have one kit that now fits Bernafon models such as the ICOS and PRIO, the Swiss Ear and Symbio XT and the Neo.
Today's consumers have high expectations for hearing improvement and wearing comfort and any manufacturer that fails to recognize those expectations will be left behind with outdated technology that consumers simply dont want.
Bernafon, a leader in high quality hearing aid design, has found a winning combination with its SPIRA flex kits: open ear comfort, one stop shopping and a discreet appearance that appeals to many older consumers.
So before you visit your audiologist for this years hearing evaluation, consider what youre looking for in a hearing device. Most likely, its naturalness of sound and wearing comfort just what you get from Bernafon products fitted with the SPIRA flex system.
Ask your hearing professional about Bernafon and SPIRA flex and check it out. Hearing never sounded so good.