Last updated on Apr 11, 2018
What is the difference between channels and bands in a digital hearing aid? Hearing healthcare professionals often mention these terms when comparing different hearing aids.
Bands break up the hearing spectrum and allow each portion of the frequency range to be adjusted individually. This is sometimes called the equalizer and can be thought of as similar to an equalizer on a stereo system. For example, if you have hearing loss in the higher pitches, but not in the lower pitches, the bands would be used to adjust the higher pitches only (leaving the lower pitches un-amplified) so that you could hear better.
Channels are involved in helping soft sounds get amplified into a comfortable range, preventing loud sounds from becoming too loud, noise reduction and feedback (whisting) prevention. For example, if a firetruck passed by you, your hearing could be damaged by the loud sound of a firetruck siren. The channels would compress (flatten) the sound to prevent it from being loud enough to damage your hearing.
The MDHearingAid AIR has 12 bands and 2 channels. The MDHearingAid FIT has 12 bands and 8 channels. These are similar to specifications found in hearing aids costing thousands of dollars by Costco, Oticon, Starkey, Resound, Phonak, Widex, Unitron, Beltone, Miracle Ear, and Siemens.