How Do Hearing Aids Work?

Hearing aids have been around for decades. The first hearing devices were just conical devices that you held up to your ear so that a person could speak into them. This would funnel the sound directly into your ear. Now there are more impressive types of hearing aids, working with a higher degree of technology. So, in modern times, how do hearing aids work?

Hearing aids use small microphones to make a soft sound louder. They do this by using a small microphone. This device will receive the sound that comes in and convert it to an electrical or digital signal and send that data to a speaker where it is turned into sound once again. Settings for these microphones take into account the degree of a person's hearing loss and their usual environment. Environment here refers to how much and what kind of noise you are usually around. Are you usually near high frequency noises? If so, do you need to hear them? Do you function mainly in a quiet conversational environment? All these questions will help the audiologist adjust the settings on your hearing aid. This is only part of the answer to how do hearing aids work.

There are three basic types of technology that receive and convert the signals in hearing aids these days. The least advanced is the analog adjustable hearing aid, and it costs less than the other two types. This type of hearing aid is adjustable by your audiologist for volume and other specifications. The factory will then custom make it for you. You can control the volume, or it will be controlled automatically.

Another type of circuitry found in hearing aids is called analog programmable. These are somewhat better than the analog adjustable because they can be programmed by using a computer. The audiologist sets different programs of sound capture and transmission for different listening situations. The user can select which program to use at any given time by using a remote control.

Digital programmable hearing aids are the most advanced and, of course, the most expensive. For years they were impossible and then they were impractical because they couldn't be made small enough. That is no longer the case.

So, how do these hearing aids work? Their circuitry contains a feature called DSP, or Digital Sound Processing. They utilize a computer chip to analyze and process the sound data before it is amplified to the ear. It does this by using billions of digital number codes to identify and classify sounds to give them the correct settings. This digital data is then converted into sound and sent on to the ear. The digital hearing aid also has the capability of detecting and eliminating feedback by identifying its frequencies. These hearing aids work automatically with little adjustment from the wearer.

Hearing aids have come a long way in a short time. People who can want to hear better have many options now. And, if you find yourself asking, "How do hearing aids work," the answer these days is technology.


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