The latest designed Hearing Aids all employ Digital Signal Processing which provides, among many other things, features that are considered, and classified, as Automatic.
One such Feature is that the amplification ( the levels and patterns of which have usually been established during the initial fitting) in certain frequencies (like the keys on a Piano, pure tones) automatically decrease if the ambient sound levels of specific frquencies exceed the predermined established levels that enter the Microphone Port. Not only are the higher levels not amplified by the hearing aid, but the existing amplification levels are reduced, thereby making the wearing of the Hearing Aid more tolerable in noisy environments such as a restaurant. Sometimes such automatic noise reducation is interpreted by the User as if the Hearing Aid is malfunctioning. This is especially so if the User has a severe loss and is accustomed to a lot of amplification (loudness) and likes the Power produced, usually in the lower ambient frequencies.
Although such features, can be built into the Aid as Automatic, they are more commonly activated by the manual pressing of what can be called a Situation Switch, which is usually a very small (5mm) round and nipple-like protrusion on the faceplate of the Hearing Aid. The Faceplate is the flat or rounded part of the hearing aid that is bonded to the shell of the Hearing Aid and can easily be identified as the part that contains the Battery Door.
The above description pertains to a Custom Made Hearing Aid (identified as a Hearing Aid custom made for a specific ear from an impression taken of that ear by a Hearing Aid Dispenser from which a shell is made for the purpose of containing all the Hearing Aid Electronic Components).Behind or Over The Ear Hearing Aids, may also have such a Switch on the top part of the device.
In a Custom Made Product, the smaller the hearing aid, such as a CIC (Completely in the Canal) or a Micro-Canal Model (the next size up, usually using the same size battery as the CIC, which is either a size 10 or perhaps a size 5-no longer used because of the power requirements of DSP resulting in unacceptable battery life) the Smaller the Faceplate. The smaller the Faceplate, the smaller the Battery Door. The smaller the Battery Door, the smaller the battery. The smaller the Battery, the Shorter the Battery Life. These are all comprises because of the Small Size Requirement or Desire, of the Hearing Aid User, usually for Cosmetic Purposes. They don't want the Hearing Aid visible to the Public.A CIC model hearing aid usually isn't provided with a Volume Control Wheel. A Micro-Canal Model usually is built with a Volume Control Wheel. Sometimes, the Volume Control Wheel is so small and Shallow and close to the Faceplate, that the Hearing Aid User cannot feel the Wheel with their Finger, especially if they have long fingernails. Sometimes, the Hearing Aid User has no feeling in the tipes of their Fingers, and can't locate or feel the very small Volume Control Wheel.The Hearing Aid Model next up in Size is called a Canal Aid and usually uses a size 312 battery which is about twice the size of the sizes 5 or 10, and provides more than twice the Battery Life (depending upon the Circuit and Drain Requirements) and is probably the most popular Model used. The next size-up Model is called either a Half-Shell or a Full Shell, and usually uses a size 312 or size 13 hearing aid battery.
World-Wide, all Hearing Aid Battery Manufacturers use the same Color Coding Of Battery Sizes. All the Hearing Aid Batteries used are called Zinc-Air and are provided with a Tab placed over a few holes drilled into the face of the battery (on the positive side) which is intended to keep the battery from being activated by being exposed to air. Once the tab has been lifted, even for a fraction of a second, the battery is activated and the process cannot be stopped, so it serves no purpose to replace the tab.When activating these batteries, it is a good practice to wait 30 seconds before expecting the battery to be fully charged. This is especially so with the smaller batteries such as size 5 and size 10. It is almost impossible to find a defective battery and it is more likely that the Hearing Aid is malfunctioning if it doesn't squeal when a new battery is installed. The best way to check if its the hearing aid or the battery, is to switch the battery from a working hearing aid into the other hearing aid.If the other hearing aid doesn't squeal, then its the Hearing Aid, not the battery. Don't waste batteries, clean the receiver tube of the malfunctioning hearing aid.
The tab colors of the size batteries are as follows. You don't have to remember the size of the battery, just the color.
Size 5 is RED
Size 10 is YELLOW
Size 13 is ORANGE
Size 312 is BROWN
Size 675 is BLUE
The Shelf Life of the Zinc Air Batteries is FOREVER, UNLESS THE SEAL (TAB) leaks.
I have used hearing aid batteries, that have never had the Tab removed, as old as 5 years old, and they have lasted as long a just produced batteries.
You do not have to keep batteries in refrigeration. It is actually not recommende to do so.
If, because of the size of the Volume Control Wheel and it is difficult to find or use, or if the Hearing Aid does not have a Volume Control Wheel, or if the User of the Hearing Aid is not capable of using a Volume Control Wheel, for whatever reason, such as dexterity problems, palsy,numbness, stroke,etc,the best possible solution of influencing and effecting the volume of the hearing aid is by the use of a Remote Control.
Such use is also a clever way of concealing the use and wearing of a hearing aid.
PHONAK Hearing Aids use 3 different models of Remote Controls and the most appealing one is a Swiss Made Watch, which also keeps excellent time, and comes in several versions. They offer a Man's watch with 2 types of Bands and a White of Black Face, and they offer an identical selection in a Woman's watch.
The Watches, when pressed, can either raise or lower the volume in increments of 2 decibels. The Hearing Aid beeps in the ear when it receives the signal. When the limit is reached, either way, up or down (increased or decreased) the Hearing Aid beeps twice. The Range of volume can be changed by the Hearing Aid Dispenser programming the Hearing Aid.
No observer can tell if the Hearing Aid User is adjusting the volume level of the Hearing Aid.
Such usage over-rides the Automatic Adjustment Characteristics of the Digital Signal Processing.
The different Programs of the Digital Signal Processing in the Hearing Aid can also be activated and changed by using any of the 3 models of Remote Controls.
PHONAK offers 2 other hand held Remote Controls which are easier to use than the Watch but are larger and more obvious.
They are usually kept in a purse or pocket but usually have to be removed to be used.
The Remote Controls available from PHONAK are Options, and are not required in the use of the Hearing Aids, but make such use a lot more practical and convenient.
PHONAK Hearing Aids are usually Automatic, except for changing the Programs of the Digital Signal Processing, which is done manually if a remote is not used.
The Watches are usually available from any Hearing Aid Dispenser for $400.00 which is the cost from PHONAK.
The Watches, like all other Hearing Aid Products, at least in the State of California, by law, have the State Sales Tax paid for by the Hearing Aid Provider.
The 2 other Remotes cost $200.00 including the Sales Tax.
All Remotes, although expensive, are guaranteed, work exceptionally well with the Hearing Aids, and are great products, making the use of Hearing Aids a lot more convenient and easy to wear.
Buyer Beware, usually does not apply in this case, but again depends upon where and with whom, you do business. And thats what Hearing Aid Dispensing is, a Business. The People that sell Hearing Aids, whatever their Title, are Hearing Aid Sales People. There is nothing wrong with that.