Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are a type of hearing aid that does
How Do Hearing Aids Work? How Effective Are They?
If you have been told you need to wear a hearing aid, then it’s crucial to find one that works with your lifestyle. These hearing solutions are designed to improve your hearing ability, so while before you may have had difficulty listening to what people were saying, you will regain the ability to hear them clearly while wearing your device.
Let's take a look at two of the most common questions people have about hearing aids.
How do hearing aids work?
Hearing aids are miniature devices that can be tailored and adjusted to your particular hearing needs. They are usually made up of three main components.
This picks up the sounds around you and transmits them to the processor. It can differentiate a range of sounds, including speech and background noise, and filters them to give you a seamless hearing experience. Most hearing aids come with two microphones – directional and omnidirectional – and these function to give you the ability to hear the sounds directly in front of you, as well as those that are coming from other directions.
Also known as the amplifier, this analyzes the sounds from the microphone to accommodate the wearer's requirements. It amplifies the sounds that are needed for communication and reduces feedback from any unnecessary background sounds, such as the wind. Once all adjustments have been made within the processor, the signal is sent to the final hearing aid component.
This creates an enhanced soundwave that meets the hearing requirements of the wearer. It transmits the signal from the processor and releases it as sound for the wearer. The receiver is the piece of the hearing device that is directed towards the inner ear of the wearer.
When visiting your audiologist, different hearing aid fittings will be explained to you. It might be that one particular type of hearing aid is right for you, depending on its features and your ear anatomy. You might also prefer one over another for aesthetic reasons.
The common hearing aid styles include:
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids: As their name suggests, these hearing aids sit behind your ear. They send sounds to your ear through a piece of tubing that is connected to an earmold that fits comfortably within your ear.
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids: All of the working parts of these hearing aids are placed into the earmold that fits into your ear. They come in different shapes and sizes, depending on the wearer's ear.
In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids: As above, but they are smaller and less visible, and fit inside the wearer's ear canal.
Other types of hearing aids are available, including those that cater to people with hearing loss in one ear only, or to those who can't wear conventional hearing aids, for whatever reason. An audiologist will explain each type to you should you need to have a hearing aid fitted.
How effective are hearing aids?
Hearing aids are very effective, but to receive the maximum benefit, you do need to consult with an audiologist on an annual basis, as adjustments may need to be made if your hearing condition changes. You should also replace the batteries occasionally, as the hearing aid will start to become less effective when your older batteries start to wear out.
With the right care of your hearing aid, and with support from your audiologist, you won't be disappointed at the effectiveness of your device. However, they do more than simply amplify sounds.
Hearing aids contain technologies that can reduce those sounds that are particularly loud, such as those that are over 100 decibels. We are thinking of police sirens and the sound of heavy machinery.
Hearing aids can target and amplify those particular frequencies that you have difficulty hearing, and they can filter out background sounds so you can focus on the people that you want to listen to.
Some hearing aids can be fitted with certain features to make your life easier, such as Bluetooth technologies that can connect to your phone or TV set.
You can find out more detailed information from an audiologist.
Here at Audiology Associates, we can talk to you more about hearing aids and their effectiveness, so get in touch with us at (888) 701-1441 if you have any questions. If you are experiencing hearing loss, or if you know somebody who is, we will be happy to discuss the appropriate next steps with you.