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How Do Hearing Aids Work?

Hearing Aid Internals

You put them into your ears, turn them on and, what seems to be like magic, you’re able to hear better and more clearly.  While hearing aids might seem magical, they’re actually highly technical devices that rely on years of research, advancement and work to help people who suffer from hearing loss hear better and more clearly.

But how do they do it?

Parts of a hearing aid

To understand how a hearing aid works, it’s important to first understand the components of a hearing aid. A hearing aid has three basic parts: a microphone, amplifier and speaker. The hearing aids received sound through a microphone. The microphone then converts the sound waves into electrical signals, which are then sent to an amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the signals and then sends the signal to the ear through a speaker. 

Contrary to popular belief, hearing aids don’t fix a person’s hearing loss. Rather, the amplified sound makes it easier for an individual to hear what is going on in many environments.

Types of hearing aids

How a hearing aid functions depends on its type. The two main types of hearing aids are analog and digital. Analog hearing aids convert sound waves into electrical signals, which are then amplified. Analog hearing aids are programmed by the manufacturer to match the needs established by an individual’s type and degree of hearing loss.

Digital hearing aids convert sound waves into numerical codes before amplifying them. The code includes more information about the sound wave than the analog hearing aid can provide, such as the sound’s pitch or loudness. As such, digital hearing aids can be programmed to amplify more frequencies than others.

Other accessories

Many hearing aids, regardless if they are analog or digital, come with extra assistive listening devices. These devices, such as telecoils, work with the hearing aids to provide extra amplification and help in specific environments for those individuals who may need additional help or amplification.

Your audiologist will work with you to find the right hearing aids to fit your lifestyle, budget and hearing loss needs. Talk more in-depth with your audiologist to determine what features and styles are best for your particular needs and to better understand how to care, maintain and use your hearing aids.