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How Do Hearing Aids Work?

With modern technology making hearing aids tinier and more discreet every day, you may be one of many wondering, “how do hearing aids actually work?”
Various takes on hearing devices have been around for centuries. Over the years, science and engineering have fine-tuned hearing aids so that today, they address the vast majority hearing losses. Nowadays, the saying “great things come in small packages” is so true.

Inside a hearing aid

Hearing aids are small electroacoustic devices designed to amplify and process sound. They can be programmed to filter out background noises and enhance the types of sound that are deemed important. That way, they improve speech recognition, hearing ability, and hearing comfort. Hearing aids can be customized to suit the unique shape of your ear and meet the specific needs your lifestyle.

A hearing aid has five parts:

  1. Microphone
  2. Digital processor or amplifier
  3. Receiver (speaker)
  4. Volume control
  5. Battery

This is how it works:

Microphone picks up sound waves

The microphone picks up sound waves to convert them into electrical signals, which can then be digitally enhanced.

Processor amplifies it

The processor modifies these electrical signals to amplify frequency, reduce background and wind noise, and cancel the acoustic signal that can cause feedback. The sound is processed further to suit the wearer’s specific hearing requirements, and then converted into analog signals.

Receiver delivers high-quality sound

The hearing aid receiver is like a speaker it collects the analog signals and converts them into ordinary sound waves, which are then directed into the ear canal.

Boost loudness with volume control

Many modern hearing aids have automatic volume control to suit the current listening environment. Users may also control volume manually, and adjust treble and bass settings.

Battery supplies the power

Zinc-air batteries are the most commonly used batteries in hearing aids. You can read more how to change your hearing aid battery.

Features of modern hearing aids

Modern hearing aids are so tiny, they are practically invisible when worn.

Better quality sound

Hearing aids contain advanced silicon chips that continuously process all incoming sounds to suit the wearer’s unique hearing needs. The sophistication of the hearing aid allows it to distinguish between sounds that need amplification and unwanted background noises that must be reduced. This allows the wearer to hear more clearly.

Fine-tuning to different environments

Digital hearing aids can be customized to work with each individual’s personal hearing and lifestyle needs. They are carefully programmed for different situations, such as one-on-one conversations, loud concerts, or parties where there is a lot of background noise.

Wireless compatibility

Considering the way people communicate in the world today, wireless connectivity is incorporated into the design of the best and most modern models. Wireless streaming hearing aids can easily link up with your television, stereo system, smartphone, and computer, and wirelessly stream sound. Your hearing aids can give you complete control and access to most all communication and multimedia devices.

Present-day hearing aids are so sophisticated and discreet; you are likely to forget you’re even wearing them. If you’re challenged with hearing loss, you can get your life back with the help of a modern digital hearing aid.

John Cariola, Au.D.
John has been working in the audiology industry since 1983 and has a true love and passion for everything the hearing health world has to offer. He grew up witnessing the British Invasion of The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, etc. which really means he started out life with sound, really loud sound. And his passion for all sound continues today. John is currently Beltone's Director of Product Management. More About John

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