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Something You Should Know About Hearing Aids

November 18, 2019

For the millions of Americans who have hearing loss, hearing aids are usually the best option to help correct untreated hearing loss and resume a high quality of life. Many types and styles are available to suit every preference and lifestyle.

What is a hearing aid?

otc hearing aids ric

otc hearing aids ric

A typical receiver-in-the-ear hearing aid. 

Hearing aids are small electronic devices that can be highly customized to address different types of hearing loss. All digital hearing aids contain at least one microphone to pick up sound, a computer chip that amplifies and processes sound, a speaker that sends the signal to your ear and a battery for power. More sophisticated models provide additional features, such as direct connection to a smartphone or rechargeable batteries.

How do hearing aids help with hearing loss?

A hearing aid amplifies the sounds going into the ear. They are most often prescribed for people who have a type of hearing loss known as “sensorineural,” meaning that some of the tiny hair cells of the inner ear are damaged. The surviving healthy hair cells pick up the sound delivered by the hearing aid and send them as neural signals to the brain via the auditory nerve.

For people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss, standard hearing aids work best. “Power” models are often used for people who have severe-to-profound hearing loss.

What type of hearing aid is best for me?

bluetooth hearing aid app control

bluetooth hearing aid app control

An example of a hearing
aid that sits behind the ear.

Hearing aids can be classified into two main groups: in-the-ear (ITE) styles and behind-the-ear (BTE) styles.

Our guide to hearing aid types and styles discusses many options available to you. Sizes range from virtually invisible to filling the entire bowl of the ear. Your hearing care professional will be a vital asset in helping you pick the best style for you. You might also find it helpful to review the basic parts of a hearing aid.

Hearing aid technology

Many of the hearing aids produced today use telecoils and wireless hearing aids technology. Telecoils improve hearing in public settings, such as theaters and airports. Meanwhile, wireless technology allows two hearing aids (one on each ear) to communicate with each other and essentially operate together as one complete hearing system. It also means hearing aids can connect to external sources of sound that are transmitted wirelessly, such as via Bluetooth Hearing Aids.

Will I hear better right away?

Yes, but your new hearing aids may take some time to get used to. Hearing healthcare professionals will perform an initial fitting where they fine-tune features and adjust levels to ensure you are getting the most benefit from the devices. It is important to note there is an adjustment period when wearing new devices, and it takes time to get used to new hearing aids, even if you’ve worn some type of hearing aid for many years.

Contributed by Joy Victory, managing editor, Healthy Hearing This content was last reviewed on: April 30th, 2019

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