Nanotechnology researches and creates incredibly small materials. not merely small. Little. Tiny. Very little. However, there are many applications for these tiny materials. Huge. Gigantic. Particularly when it comes to safeguarding the intricate and delicate components inside a hearing aid. The study and engineering of incredibly small materials is known as nanotechnology.
How small are we talking here?
- 25,400,000 nanometers make up one inch.
- An average newspaper sheet has a thickness of 100,000 nanometers.
- Comparatively, if a marble were a nanometer, the size of the Earth would be one metre.
These components are extremely minute. They are so incredibly small that their behaviours are completely alien to the world that our enormous eyes can observe. At the nanoscale, gold, for instance, can take on the appearance of red or even blue. Because of differences in the thickness of the material that reflects light and produces colour, this is the result. The term “nanotechnology” was coined for the very first time at the University of Tokyo in 1974, despite the fact that the nanoscale has been around since, well, forever. In addition, it wasn’t until the 1980s that scientists were able to see and manipulate things on the nanoscale thanks to the invention of scanning tunnelling microscopes. These extremely minute objects can now be manufactured by scientists.
Nanostructures that are found in nature have served as a source of inspiration for the development of nanostructures that are stronger and more flexible than those previously used in commercial and medical applications. These minute structures have many applications, one of which is to reinforce and fortify the things that we already use, making them more impervious to water and other forms of damage. According to Nano.gov, surfaces that are water-repellent, antireflective, self-cleaning, resistant to ultraviolet or infrared light, antifog, antimicrobial, scratch-resistant, or electrically conductive can be made using nanoscale thin films. They can also be applied to windows, computer and camera displays, eyeglass frames, and other surfaces.” Nanoscale thin films can also make other surfaces electrically conductive. The technology that is used in hearing aids comes into play at this point.
Hearing aids are sensitive pieces of medical technology that are extremely important, but they are frequently worn in harsh environments. In an article titled “Nanoscience Applied to Hearing Aids” that Wayne Staab wrote in 2011 for Hearing Review, he described one of the issues that can arise with hearing aids as follows: “Hearing aids are often subjected to moisture and water penetration, build-up of cerumen and body chemistry that leads to battery contact corrosion and reduced reliability.” It doesn’t take much imagination to see that a delicate and sophisticated piece of medical technology that is exposed to some nasty elements is the perfect match for a technology that is so small but provides a solid barrier to these substances. This is because the technology is so small that it can fit inside the medical device.
How are Hearing Aids Affected by Harsh Environments?
Hearing aids are frequently exposed to a variety of foreign materials, including moisture, earwax, body oil, and other substances, which can adversely affect their functionality and performance. In addition, these conditions lead to the obstruction of acoustic pathways (also known as a blockage in the acoustic ports and pathways), corrosion and leakage of batteries, impairment of transducers and mechanical components, and faulty circuits. The majority of the time, hearing aids break down because outside substances have made their way inside. As of late, an increasing number of children who lead active lifestyles have been using this device, which has led scientists to speculate that the risks associated with hearing aids may increase in the foreseeable future.
Traditional Solutions to Hearing Aids Issues
Hearing aids have been protected from potential harm by the implementation of a number of different strategies that are designed to stop the introduction of foreign substances. The use of acoustically transparent mesh that also has properties that repel water is one of the strategies. To further protect the transducers, foams are also layered in the area in front of the acoustic ports. Some hearing aids have a seal that looks like an O-ring around the battery section and the seams of the case in order to prevent moisture from entering the device.
It has become clear that many of the conventional approaches are both inefficient and counterproductive. For instance, the acoustic performance of the hearing aids may be impaired if the openings of the mesh or screens become obstructed by foreign materials over the course of their use. These kinds of occurrences necessitate the replacement of the water-repellent protective mesh on a regular basis. The addition of an O-ring to a hearing aid not only makes its design more complicated but also causes it to become significantly larger, which is not an ideal outcome.
How can these Drawbacks be Overcome?
The application of thin coatings that are water repellent is one of the effective strategies that can be used. These coatings are more effective than the traditional methods. Researchers discovered that many different types of plants make use of the water-repellent phenomenon. One example of this is the lotus leaf, which has been found to possess excellent non-wetting surfaces and a mechanism for cleaning itself. The ordered roughness of the leaf surface and the inherent hydrophobicity of the waxy layer that is present on the leaf’s surface are what cause this property, which is commonly referred to as the “lotus effect” or the “Cassie state.” Both of these terms refer to the same thing.
Surface energy and surface morphology are the two factors that determine whether or not something has water repellent properties. Surface energy has an effect on the liquid-solid surface interface by modulating the attractive forces that exist between the liquid and the solid on a molecular scale. The hydrophobicity of a surface, which is defined as the degree to which a surface is able to repel water, can be measured by determining the contact angle of a small droplet of water that is present on a surface that is level. In general, a surface is considered to be hydrophobic if the water contact angle (WCA) is between 90 degrees and 150 degrees, and it is considered to be superhydrophobic if the WCA is greater than 150 degrees. Applying nanoparticles and other treatments based on nanotechnology can artificially bring about the lotus effect on a structure. This can be accomplished and done in a variety of various ways. Because of this, manufacturers of hearing aids have turned to nanotechnology in order to create highly efficient omniphobic nanocoatings in order to safeguard their products.
Should you buy Nano Hearing Aids?
Your best course of action if you are experiencing hearing loss is to consult an ENT specialist. If there is no known medical reason for your hearing loss, an audiologist can conduct a hearing test and recommend a device that is suitable to treat your hearing loss. If you are having trouble hearing, you must immediately have your hearing evaluated. During these examinations, your healthcare provider will be able to spot any underlying health issues that could affect your hearing, including any that could endanger your life.
They add that the hearing aids “are Medical Prosthetic Devices classified as Class I” and that they are FDA registered. This description is inaccurate. An FDA-registered device and an FDA-approved device are two different things. Saying a product is registered with the FDA doesn’t tell you much because all medical devices must be registered with the agency before being sold. Class I simply denotes that the FDA has classified the device as low risk. If you’re unsure if Nano Hearing Aids are the right choice for you, consult your doctor.
When to discuss hearing aids with a doctor
Talk with a doctor if:
– hearing loss affects your day-to-day activities
– Increasing or persisting hearing loss
– sudden hearing loss occurs
– You are aware of sounds that are ringing in your ears.
– In addition to hearing loss, ear pain can be experienced.
– Headaches are a common side effect of hearing loss.
– accident or injury that results in impairment of your hearing takes place.
It is vital that you communicate any concerns you may have regarding your hearing to a healthcare professional as soon as possible. They might recommend seeing an ENT for further diagnosis or treatment after speaking with you. Hearing aids may not be required in certain circumstances; however, other forms of treatment will still be required.
Special features of nano hearing aids
The idea that hearing aids do nothing more than amp up the volume of the sounds in your environment is a widespread fallacy. In point of fact, various kinds provide features that are unique to themselves. For instance, they might be able to amplify certain frequencies that are difficult for you to hear.
When selecting a device, keep the following in mind:
– Filtering out the background noise.It may be useful to have a device that can block out background noise if you work in a noisy environment or spend a lot of time interacting with others.
– Connectivity for mobile phones. Having the ability to remotely control your hearing aid through an app on your smartphone can be very convenient.
– Degree of visibility. While some gadgets are essentially undetectable, others may be more obvious.
– Battery rechargeability. Hearing aids that use rechargeable batteries, as opposed to hearing aids that use single-use batteries, are a better option for those who are concerned about environmental impact.
– Comfort. When worn, various electronic devices can have varying sensations. Think about trying out a few different types, either in a store or at the office of a hearing specialist, to determine which one is most suitable and apropiate for your needs.
Nano Hearing Aids pros and cons
The following is an outline of the benefits and drawbacks associated with using Nano Hearing Aids:
- Offers affordable hearing aids: People who are on a tight budget will find it easier to purchase hearing aids from the Nano brand because some of the options are more affordable than those offered by competing brands.
- Easier to access than prescription hearing aids: A doctor’s note is not required in order to purchase one of these devices.
- No evidence behind the newer tech: Hearing tests are reportedly able to be carried out by using Nano’s app, which is compatible with some of the company’s more recent products. There is no evidence and result to suggest that these tests can substitute for audiograms or any other hearing tests performed by a doctor.
- A significant number of customer complaints: The quality of the goods, the level of customer service, and the simplicity of returns are the main topics of these complaints.
Tips for Buying Hearing Aids
Identifying your hearing issues
It is unfortunate that purchasing hearing aids is not always as simple as jumping on the internet and placing an order within a few minutes. Instead, it is strongly suggested that you first undergo a hearing evaluation and consult with an audiologist in order to gain insight into the various treatment options that are available to you and to determine which one(s) might be most suitable for your particular situation.
Having a hearing test
A diagnostic hearing test is something you should consider getting if you have any reason to suspect that you may be experiencing hearing loss of any kind. This can provide you with an accurate measurement of your hearing loss and the potential benefits of using a hearing aid for you. If you have your ears and hearing examined, you will learn about any additional conditions, such as wax buildup, infection, or injury, that could affect your hearing. This is because having your ears and hearing checked will uncover all of these issues. After your hearing test, you might also be referred to an otolaryngologist, who is a specialist in the treatment of disorders affecting the ears, nose, and throat, or ENT for short.
It might be advised for you to see an otolaryngologist if you have:
– irregularities in the patterns of hearing loss
– asymmetrical hearing loss, also known as uneven hearing loss
– pain drainage
Dr. Thomas Powers, a hearing consultant and audiologist, pointed out that in order to select the appropriate hearing device, a person “needs to know what is the nature of their hearing loss and how severe it is,” even if they purchase the device online.
Talking with a specialist about your options
According to Powers, people frequently underestimate the degree of their perceived hearing loss. For instance, if you find that “everyone else is mumbling,” it is possible that the reason you find it difficult to understand what people are saying during conversations is because of a problem with your hearing. A hearing specialist will be able to assist you in determining this. Think about scheduling an appointment with an audiologist. Audiologists have received specialised education, training, and certification to diagnose and treat a variety of hearing-related conditions. Hearing aids can be selected, fitted, and provided by audiologists as well as hearing instrument specialists, both of whom have the necessary training and credentials.
In addition to conducting a physical examination on a patient, an audiologist will also review the patient’s medical history and carry out any additional diagnostic testing that may be deemed necessary, according to Dr. Kristin Davis, who will serve as the next president of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology.
How the little world of nanotechnology protects hearing aids | PeopleHearingBetter. (n.d.). ©2011. American Hearing Aid Associates. http://phb.secondsensehearing.com/content/how-little-world-nanotechnology-protects-hearing-aids
Crider, C. (2022, August 24). Nano Hearing Aids 2022 Review. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/nano-hearing-aids-reviews
Bose, P., PhD. (2021, October 20). Keeping Hearing Aids Safe with P2i’s Nanocoating Technology. AZoNano.com. https://www.azonano.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=5845