Understanding How Hearing Aids Work

In simple terms, hearing aids are discreet, wearable electronic devices that can help you hear more clearly and make certain sounds more audible. If you have a hearing impairment, hearing aids can make it easier to communicate with people and can improve your quality of life by allowing you to enjoy music and movies or engage in phone calls without limitations. Hearing aid technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, and it's now possible to tailor your hearing aids to your specific hearing needs. Read on to find out how hearing aids work and learn about common options that are available when being fitted for hearing aids.

How Hearing Aids Work

There are a few different types of hearing aids, but they all have a few basic components in common. Every hearing aid has a computer chip, loudspeaker, battery, amplifier and microphone. The microphone picks up external sounds and feeds these sounds to the computer chip, which can be programmed to alter certain sounds to meet your needs. For example, if you struggle to hear high-frequency sounds, the computer chip can be programmed to lower the frequency of these sounds. The sounds are then transported to the amplifier to increase their volume to an appropriate level for you. Lastly, the loudspeaker transmits sounds to the inner ear and these sounds should be much more audible than they would be if they did not pass through your hearing aids.  

Hearing Aid Options

Modern hearing aids can be programmed by your doctor to ensure they provide the maximum benefit possible for you. For example, they can be programmed to filter out background noise or to amplify other voices. Some models can only be adjusted by your audiologist, while others allow you to make changes to suit different environments you find yourself in. You may be able to make changes to the settings using a smartphone app or a handheld controller.

The appearance and fit of your hearing aids can also be taken into consideration based on your personal preferences. Behind the ear hearing aids have the microphone, computer chip and battery in an external casing that has a thin tube connected to it. The tube links the external casing to the amplifier and loudspeaker located in an ear fitting that sits just inside your ear canal. Behind-the-ear hearing aids may be preferred if you want to ensure people you meet can clearly see you have a hearing impairment. Completely in-the-canal hearing aids have no external parts to them. All of the components are held within a small ear fitting that is custom made to fit securely inside your ear canal. These hearing aids are very discreet and it would be difficult for someone to spot that you were wearing them.

If you're considering getting hearing aids and have questions or would like further information before making your decision, contact a professional.