What are hearing aids?

Unitron RIC HawaiiHearing aids are small, sophisticated devises that amplify sounds and provide clearer hearing to those with hearing loss. Restoring hearing is empowering and clear communication is a treasure. Hearing aids can be large or small, and range from affordable to the most advanced in hearing technology.

How do hearing aids work?

All hearing aids have five basic components: a microphone, a chip, an amplifier, a speaker, and a battery. The microphone picks up sounds and sends them to the processing chip to be analyzed. Sounds are then transmitted to the amplifier to make them louder, and finally to the speaker or receiver. Here the ear takes over and translates the sounds to electrical impulses the brain can understand and process.

Selecting a hearing aid

While all hearing aids have these components, higher quality hearing aids will have better sound reproduction. Your individual needs and lifestyle, as well as level of hearing loss, will determine what hearing aid is right for you.

Hearing aids work to optimize speech, provide feedback cancellation, and reduce unwanted noise. They are designed for comfort and reliability, and can be manual or automatic, remembering your preferred settings for different programs. They come is subtle colors to match your skin or bright colors to match your personality. What makes each hearing aid unique is its design, featured technology, and advanced programs.

At The Hearing Center of Hawaii, our audiologist will help you determine the best hearing aid model for your hearing loss, lifestyle and budget. You can even try a pair of hearing aids risk-free, before investing in a pair of aids. Dr. Howard Tamashiro is here to help reconnect you to your life through better hearing. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.


BTE hearing aid hawaiiWe understand that a hearing aid is an investment for our patients. Many people prefer to try a pair of hearing aids in the environments they frequent most, like at home, work or place of worship. Our hearing aid trial program provides the opportunity to test a pair of hearing aids at home before committing to a purchase. Simply make an appointment for a consultation with our audiologist, and you can have a pair of hearing aids programmed to your unique hearing loss to try at home.

Hearing Aid Style Overview

Competely-In-The-Canal (CIC) hearing aids are almost impossible to see. They are for mild to moderate hearing loss, and also reduce wind noise. However, they do block the ear, occluding sounds.

Invisible-In-The-Canal (CIC) hearing aids are for mild and moderate hearing loss. IIC are custom made and sit far back into the ear. They cannot be seen. This makes them extremely difficult to adjust manually, but IIC hearing aids are excellent for an active lifestyle.

Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) hearing aids are similar to BTE models. In this style, most components are housed behind the ear, but the receiver (or speaker) is in the ear canal. Like the BTE style, RIC hearing aids work for all levels of hearing loss. This style is barely visible when worn, since the piece resting behind the ear is small.

Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aids are one of the most common hearing aid styles, and are for all levels of hearing loss. They are easy to handle and adjust. The components of the hearing aid are in a small plastic case that sits behind the ear, with a clear tubing connecting to an ear mold in the ear. Since they have a larger battery, BTE aids can provide greater sound amplification for those with severe hearing loss, as well as powering more settings and programs, and having a longer battery life. This style does not block the ear canal, and sounds are heard in a more natural way.

In-The-Ear (ITE) hearing aids are among the hearing aids often picked for cosmetic reasons. They are more discreet since all components of the hearing aid are in a shell that sits in the external ear. ITE styles are easy to insert or manually adjust settings, and can aid all levels of hearing loss.

We specialize in -nearly invisible- CIC hearing aids

invisible hearing aids honolulu pearlridge hawaiiLearn More about Hearing Aid Styles

We proudly carry Unitron and Phonak hearing aids

unitron hearing aid logo

Unitron is a Canadian hearing aid manufacturer under the parent company Sonova Group. Unitron hearing aids are developed from research and feedback from real patients and hearing specialists. Unitron hearing aids are powered by the North Platform, a fast and effective processing system that provides wearers with clear sound signals and quality. Unitron hearing aids offer features such as SoundNav, Speech Zone 2, and Sound Conductor. To ensure the best fit, Unitron allows wearers to test drive their hearing aids with a Flex program. During this trial basis, Unitron’s TrueFit Software and Log It All program archives user preferences. The three main families of Unitron hearing aids are Stride, Moxi, and Max. They are available in different wearing styles from receiver-in-canal to behind-the-ear. The Max hearing aid is a super powered aid to address severe to profound hearing loss.

phonak hearing aid logo

Phonak is a Swiss manufacturer of hearing aids. Phonak hearing aids are powered by the Venture Processing Platform, which analyzes and balances sounds faster than previous platforms while using 30% less battery power. Phonak hearing aids offer features to improve speech recognition up to 60%. UltraZoom and Speech in 360 gives Phonak hearing aid wearers a better sense of their sonic environment. The Lyric is Phonak’s 24/7 hearing aid, which may be worn up to four months without removal. Phonak’s three main families of hearing aids are Audeo, Bolero, and Virto. They come in four technology levels to address various degrees of hearing loss.

Learn More about Phonak Hearing Aids
starkey hearing aids

Starkey Hearing Technologies is an American manufacturer of hearing aids, founded in 1967. Starkey is known for their new Muse Made for Life hearing aid, which provides comfort in noise, excellent music listening, clarity with speech, and flexibility in a range of listening environments. The Muse is available as a mini behind-the-ear hearing aid. Starkey made history with its Halo Made for iPhone hearing aid, one of the first in the industry to connect hearing aids wirelessly to smartphones. This connection gives wearers improved accessibility by streaming phone calls, music, and other media directly to their Starkey hearing aids. Starkey hearing aids are available in invisible, receiver-in-canal, completely-in-canal, behind-the-ear, and in-the-ear styles. The Halo Made for iPhone is available as a receiver-in-canal and behind-the ear only.

Learn More about Starkey Hearing Aids
oticon haring aids

Founded in 1904, Oticon is a Danish hearing aid manufacturer. Oticon’s latest processing platform is Velox, which gives wearers clear sound quality and an “open sound solution.” This means that Oticon hearing aid wearers experience the full spectrum of sound in their environment, while also being empowered to select what they would like to hear. The new Oticon OPN hearing aid has reduced listening effort by 20% and has improved speech recognition up to 30%. The OPN is available as a mini receiver-in-canal style. Oticon is known for their BrainHearing Technology, which assists the brain in the process of hearing. Oticon’s most popular models are the Alta, Nera, and Ria hearing aids, which are worn completely-in-canal or invisible-in-canal.

Learn More about Oticon Hearing Aids
widex hearing aids

Danish hearing aid manufacturer Widex was founded in 1956. Widex is known for their trademark Widex Sound. Widex hearing aids include the UNIQUE, DREAM, and SUPER. UNIQUE offers a wider sound picture that amplifies soft sounds and balances loud sounds in any environment. UNIQUE is available as a completely-in-canal, in-the-ear, receiver-in-canal, and behind-the-ear. The DREAM offers true-to-life sound without distortion. Through smartphone connection, the DREAM allows wearers to stream music and media directly to their hearing aids. Widex’s SUPER hearing aid is the response to severe to profound hearing loss, with extra powerful amplification. Widex addresses tinnitus with Zen Therapy, a four-step program to provide relief from tinnitus.

Learn More about Widex Hearing Aids
signia hearing aids

Signia is a sister brand of the well-known Siemens, and is a part of the Sivantos Group. Launched in 2016, Signia’s flagship hearing aid is the Primax. Primax has been found to reduce listening efforts. Primax builds upon Siemens’ binax platform, which has been proven to outperform normal hearing in challenging situations. Primax hearing aids include features such as SpeechMaster, HD Music, EchoShield, and TwinPhone. The Primax is available as receiver-in-canal, behind-the-ear, or in-the-ear styles, with models co-branded with Siemens: Ace, Pure, Motion, and Insio. Primax also offers wireless connection and tinnitus therapy.

Learn More about Signia Hearing Aids