Common Hearing Aid Terms & Technology

PENTA offers a wide variety of digital technology. The technology is broken down into four levels, which offer different features. Your audiologist will discuss these options as well as the specific details of each manufacturers’ products.

Basic Digital

  • 3-8 channels
  • Excellent feedback management
  • Basic directional microphones
  • Limited noise reduction

Mid-Level Digital

  • 5-12 channels
  • Excellent feedback management
  • Automatic & adaptive directional microphones
  • Improved noise reduction

High-End Digital

  • 10-16 channels
  • Excellent feedback management
  • Advanced automatic & adaptive directional microphones
  • Stronger noise reduction
  • Limited data analysis of user’s environment

Premium Digital

  • 15-20 channels
  • Excellent feedback management
  • Ultimate in automatic & directional microphones
  • Strongest noise reduction
    Detailed data analysis of user’s environment for more precise fitting and adjustments

Compression: allows the hearing aid to provide different amounts of volume to different levels of sound (soft speech vs. shouting).

Channels: by having multiple channels we are able to control the amount of gain applied in multiple frequencies. The more channels the more flexibility; which allows for more comfort for the user.

Feedback Management: feedback is the high-pitched ring/whistle that is heard when the amplified sound from the hearing aid is forced back into the microphone.

Feedback will in most cases occur:

  • when the hearing aid is being inserted or removed from the ear
  • when there is a build up of wax in the ear canal
  • when the hearing aid does not fit properly
  • when the hearing aid is not inserted correctly
  • if you cup your hand around your ear
  • occasionally from a hug

However, you should not experience feedback if you are chewing, talking, or taking part in you daily routines. The hearing aids have a feature to help detect and eliminate feedback in these situations. In the mid-level through premium hearing aids, it is necessary to run a feedback test to determine where the feedback is most likely to occur. In the basic hearing aid, the system is standard and not specific for the individual ear.

Directional Microphones: help reduce background noise from beside and behind the hearing aid user to allow the listener to focus on the speaker in front of them. When a hearing aid has directional microphones it has two microphones: one is the omnidirectional microphone (main microphone) and the other is the directional microphone. The microphones communicate with each other so that the speech in front of the hearing aid user is amplified
appropriately and the noises from beside and behind the hearing aid user are reduced.

It must be understood that directional microphones do not eliminate background noise. If the environment is very noisy the hearing aid will reduce the noise to help focus on the speaker, however, the environment will still be noisy. Digital hearing aids are designed to allow the listener to hear more “naturally,” therefore adjusting both environments and speech to appropriate levels.

Directional Microphones have and continue to rapidly advance. Your audiologist will discuss go into more detail during your hearing aid consultation.

Noise Reduction: helps to keep the hearing aid user comfortable in noise, especially constant, steady state noise (ex. vacuum cleaner, fan, etc.).