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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Hearing is one of the five senses along with vision, taste, smell and touch. The ear serves asa receiver of incoming sounds. Although the ear receives sound and is the sense organ for hearing, it is the brain and central nervous system that interpret the sound. The human auditory system can generally hear sounds within the frequency range of 20 Hz and 20 kHz but the frequency range between 100Hz and 6 kHz contains most of the information of human voice (Kinsler, Frey, Coppers, and Sanders, 1982). Although the sensation of hearing requires an intact and functioning auditory portion of the central nervous system as well as working ear, human deafness (extreme insensitivity to sound) and hearing loss most commonly occur because of damages of the ear, rather than the central auditory system.
Hearing aid device is a small electronic gadget that is fit in or behind the ear to improve one’s hearing and consequently communication ability (Yusuf, 2015). While some people are born with hearing problem some others develop it as they grow. This problem can occur as a result of disease, aging, and injury from noise or intake of certain medicines (N.I.D.C.D, 2010). Hearing problems could be that of complete deafness or partially impaired type. Hearing problem could occur after a person learned to talk (post lingual) or those with trilingual deafness that is, deafness that occurs before a person learns to talk. Deafness, whatever the degree or course, is generally a source of worry and frustration to the patient concerned as it affects almost all aspects of one’s life.
Hearing loss is usually reserved for people who have relative insensitivity to sound in the speech Frequency range. A hearing loss can happen when any part of the auditory system is not working in the usual way (Oyler, R., Oyler, A., and Matkin,, 1988).
The design and constructed hearing aid device can improve the quality of sound for people with hearing loss. The heart of the circuit is an integrated circuit which amplifies all the signals picked by the condenser microphone and converts them back into sound and sent to the ear. It is a battery-powered electronic device that can amplify sound for people with hearing loss. The amplification function of the hearing aid is made possible with several components; a microphone (input transducer) which picks up sound an amplifier which increases the volume or the sound, a receiver (output transducer) which changes the electrical signal back into sound and sends it to the ear (Lowenberg,1976).
Hearing aids have been available in four styles: body, eyeglass, behind-the-ear (BTE), and in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid. Included in the category of ITE hearing aids are in-the- canal (ITC) and completely-in-the-canal (CIC) styles. While body and eyeglass style hearing aids were regularly used 40-50 years ago, they comprise only about 1% of all hearing aids marketed today. Instead, most individuals choose ITE (approximately 80%) or BTE (approximately 20%) style hearing aids. This transition in style, use, and preference is occurring for a number of reasons, including the reduction in the size of the components, durability, and cosmetic concerns on the part of the consumer (Gus and Ruth, 2005).