How Do Hearing Aids Work?



It’s a well-known fact that as people age, they begin to lose their hearing. Nobody wants to go through life without being able to hear the television, have conversations in noisy restaurants, or listen to their favorite songs. Thankfully, hearing aids provide a better option.

Some audiology patients are more hesitant than others to embrace this technology, though. For those on the fence about whether or not hearing devices are the right solution, it may help to learn a little bit about how they work. Read on to find out more.

Basic Mechanical Function

A hearing aid is comprised of five key components: a microphone, a microchip, an amplifier, a receiver, and a tiny battery. These mechanical components, when working in conjunction, take sounds from the external environment and amplify them so that users can hear more easily. The microphone picks up a sound, the microchip controls the device’s operation, the amplifier takes the digital signal received from the microphone and amplifies it, the receiver converts the signal into analog vibration, and the battery powers the whole thing.

Different Types of Hearing Aid

While it’s true that there is a wide variety of hearing devices on the market, they all fall under one of three basic categories: behind-the-ear, in-the-ear, or in-the-canal. The first model of hearing aid to be produced was the behind-the-ear model. This type of device is worn on the ear and consists of a hard plastic case that holds all of the components and a receiver that sits inside the ear.

An in-the-ear hearing aid is smaller and can be contained entirely within the outer ear. Unlike behind-the-ear devices, which make use of the ear itself to hold themselves in place, they are kept in place by plugging the ear. This type of device has only recently been introduced to the world of audiology as it requires more advanced technology, and is thus more expensive to produce.

In-the-canal hearing devices are even smaller. They sit in the ear canal and are hardly visible to the naked eye, making them perfect for adults who would prefer to keep their use of a hearing aid to themselves. The choice of hearing aid is primarily based on individual taste, although some patients’ unique physical features may play a role in determining which type of device they use.