How Do Hearing Aids Work and Which One to Consider?
How Do Hearing Aids Work?
There’s no need to argue that our senses are an essential part of our effective communication with the outside world, the guarantees of our successful social life, and methods of enjoying the aesthetic beauty of art, nature, and music. Hence, a problem in our hearing, vision, touch, or any other sense can result in immediate disconnection from the above-mentioned aspects.
Hearing is one of the most important components of our well being, and in cases of possible damage to our auditory system, we should take all the possible measurements and involve the latest technology to ensure its effective functioning.
That’s where the hearing aids enter the game of helping individuals with auditory problems. But how do hearing aids work, what are the main types, benefits, components of those? Let’s review all of the pertinent insights on hearing aids together.
What is a hearing aid?
To put it short, a hearing aid is an electrical device that can make sounds louder enabling a person to hear and interpret sounds better, consequently resulting in better communication abilities. Modern hearing aids are programmable, allowing to adjust certain features of individual needs and tune the amplification accordingly.
Another important component of hearing aids is that the hearing health professional can make great use of specially designed hearing aid software to adjust and fit hearing aid according to patients’ preferences.
Hearing aid components
When discussing how do hearing aids work, it is important to understand the components thanks to which it operates.
No matter the style, the functional differences of hearing aids, those primarily consist of the following components:
- Speaker (receiver)
- Power supply (batteries)
To put it simply, the main function of the microphone is to gather acoustic energy, the sound and transform it into an electrical signal. The next step would be for the receiver to take the electrical signals from the amplifier and turn them back to acoustic energy, sound again.
At the same time, the amplifier which locates between the microphone and receiver has the primary function of increasing the amplitude of the sound and sending it to the inner ear.
In general, novel technological advancements and further scientific research on this field had an enormous impact on today’s method of how do hearing aids work and the ways those are being created. Noticeably, hearing aids can be mainly separated into two primary groups:
Those are mainly based on the sophistication of features available in the processor.
Basic hearing aid technology:
Generally, basic digital hearing aids demand changes in particular listening situations, such as the acts of turning the volume up or down, reducing the noise coming from behind the wearer with a button, and more. Moreover, the processor can as well separate the incoming signal into two different channels and separately process those. Let’s take an example. In order to accommodate an individual’s hearing loss, a basic instrument can be designed to provide higher amplification for high-frequency sound compared to low-frequency one.
Noticeable, basic hearing aid technologies are less customizable and automated in comparison to advanced technologies. Furthermore, those also provide limited adjustments for fine-tuning in case of some unusual patterns of hearing loss.
Advanced hearing aid technology:
Along with the basic hearing aid technologies, most of the manufacturers are providing several levels of advanced hearing aid solutions. Thanks to the technological advancements the overall hearing aid operations are becoming more automated and with more advanced features to meet the individual needs for hearing loss.
Putting this notion into an example, it’s important to note that while the basic hearing technology separates the sound only into two different environments (quiet and noisy) the advanced technologies have eight or more environmental classifications for that. This might offer a better resolution of signal processing because it better identifies what is going on in the surrounding environment and adjusts the hearing aid settings to optimize the listeners’ experience.
Going deeper into how do hearing aids work, next we will note that depending on the specific electronics, technologies might work in different ways.
The primary difference of digital aids is that before amplifying sound waves they convert those into numerical codes, just like the binary code of a computer. Just like a computer, the more processing power and resources that are available, the better task management it does.
For the latest let’s also check step by step process on how do hearing aids work.
- The process starts with the microphones picking up the environmental sounds
- The signal is digitized and sent to the processing chip
- The digital processing chip analyzes the sounds and applies filters to clean the signal
- The processed sounds are sent to a digital to analog processor
- The analog signal is sent to the amplifier
- The amplifier increases the volume of the signal and sent to the loudspeaker
- The loudspeaker with tubing in an earmold in the ear canal, or otherwise by a thin wire to a receiver in the ear
- The ear transmits the amplified sound into the inner ear and finally, the brain picks the impulses and processes them.
Which Hearing Aids To Choose
We believe that your hearing care practitioner is your guide in your hearing betterment journey. Our philosophy is to simplify the process by having a deep knowledge about the available products, spend enough time testing your hearing with our advanced hearing tests and ask many questions about you and the things you do to really make sure that we help you find the best hearing aids which will help you hear your best for many years. We take the complicated aspects of hearing aids and break it down into simple to understand concepts and help you navigate.
There are many brands and models to choose from and factors to consider to select the best hearing aids for you. It is the job of your hearing care practitioner to not only test your ears, but to learn about you and your particular needs to ensure that you get the best hearing aids for you which will last you many years.
You are the one to make a final choice in terms of hearing aid technology based on the severity of your hearing loss and your particular lifestyle and budget. For example, if you have a hearing loss in both of your ears, normally two hearing aids can be recommended because they will provide you with a more natural signal. This will also help you better figure out the source and direction of the sound and better understand speech.
Obviously, the price is one of the important components of making a final purchase as well. Similar to other technologies, style, design, and available features matter too. Understanding the basics of how do hearing aid work will help you to make the best purchase based on your individual needs, so make sure to go over this article again and make notes if necessary of the key takeaways.
Hearing is an integral part of our social life. Hearing loss can result in various difficulties in our daily activities. However, fortunately, hearing aid technologies are making a lot of progress in helping people with hearing difficulties to be able to normally hear again.
In case you want to purchase hearing aids, make sure to first understand your hearing loss and understand the basics of how do hearing aid technologies work, and reflect on their benefits for your health. If you are still unsure how to decide, we can set up a set of hearing aids for you to try for a week.